Skip to main content

Full text of "American literature"

See other formats


Glass j_^X-9_E^ 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



9A ' 



BY 



JULIAN W. ABERNETHY, Ph.D. 

PRINCIPAL OF THE BERKELEY INSTITUTE, BROOKLYN 




NEW YORK 

MAYNARD, MERRILL, & CO. 

1902 



^%- 



THE LfBRARY OF 
CONGWeSS, 

Two Copies Reoeivto 

APR. ? 1902 

COPVHtOHT PNTRY 

CIJ^SS O-XXo. No. 
COPY A. 



Copyright, 1902, 
By MAYNARD, MERRILL, & CO. 



PREFACE 

A TEXT-BOOK of literature is only a guide-book, 
which should always supplement, but never super- 
sede, the literature itself. It should present a syste- 
matic plan of study, and furnish a brief account of 
the growth of literature as a part of national history, 
with such biographical and critical material as is 
necessary to make the interpretation of texts intelli- 
gible, interesting, and profitable. Such a guide-book 
is intended in this text-book of American literature. 

It will be seen at once that there is an unusual 
apportionment of space. The more recent literature, 
which is generally dismissed in a few final para- 
graphs, or ignored altogether, here receives liberal 
treatment. A prominence corresponding to its ac- 
knowledged interest and value is given to Southern 
literature, and an attempt is made to do justice to 
our historians. 

A class in literature should do much more than the 
work of the class-room ; therefore two lists of selec- 
tions are provided for each important author, one for 
critical study, the other for rapid outside reading; 

3 



4 PREFACE 

the two should be used together, even though time 
will not permit the completion of both. Also judi- 
cious and definite selections from the biography and 
criticism should be made for the class by the teacher. 
It is hoped that the lists for the historical background 
will lead to a closer correlation of literature and his- 
tory than is usually secured. The lists of illustrative 
literature are merely suggestive of the valuable mate- 
rial that any well-equipped teacher can provide. The 
books included in the list at the end of the volume 
constitute an adequate and fairly complete library of 
biography and criticism for American literature. One 
hundred of these books, at least, should be possessed 
by every school. 

The method of judging authors by their peers, by 
means of brief and pithy quotations embodied in the 
text, will, it is believed, prove of special interest 
and value to the student. The author's acknowledg- 
ments are due to the many authors and publishers 
from whose books he has made excerpts for this 
purpose. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. The Colonial Period 

PAGE PAGB 

English and American Lit- The New England Preach- 

erature 9 ers 33 

Cavaliers and Roundheads Jonathan Edwards ... 43 

in America 15 Colonial Poetry .... 47 

Historical Background . . 57 

CHAPTER II. Period of the Revolution 



Era of New Ideas ... 59 

Orators of the Revolution 63 

Benjamin Franklin ... 67 
The Revolutionary States- 



Revolutionary Poetry . . 87 
Charles Brockden Brown . 99 
Historical Background . . 105 



CHAPTER III. The Knickerbocker Writers 



Period of Expansion . . 107 
Washington Irving . . .111 
William Cullen Bryant . 127 
Halleck, Drake, and Dana 137 



James Fenimore Cooper 
Nathaniel Parker Willis 
Historical Background . 



CHAPTER IV. Transcendentalism 

The Transcendental Move- 
ment 160 

William Ellery Channing . 163 
Ralph Waldo Emerson . 168 



Henry David Thoreau . 
Nathaniel Hawthorne . 
Historical Background . 



144 
155 

159 



. 185 
. 190 
. 206 



CHAPTER V. The Antislavery Movement 



Nullification and Abolition 208 
Daniel Webster . . . .212 
Everett, Choate, Phillips, 
Sumner, Lincoln . . . 223 



John Greenleaf Whittier . 232 
Harriet Beecher Stowe . 247 
Historical Background . 251 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VI. The Cambridge Poets 

PAGE 

The Literary Capital . . 252 James Russell Lowell . 
Henry Wadsworth Long- Oliver Wendell Holmes 

fellow 257 



PAGE 

274 

289 



CHAPTER VII. Literature in the South 



The New South .... 304 
William Gilmore Simms . 308 
Edgar Allan Poe . . .310 
Henry Timrod .... 323 



Paul Hamilton Hayne . . 325 
Sidney Lanier .... 330 
The Story Tellers . . . 338 
Historical Background . . 347 



CHAPTER VIII. The Historians 



Literary Quality of History 348 
George Bancroft .... 354 
William Hickling Prescott 858 



John Lothrop Motley 
Francis Parkman 



364 
370 



CHAPTER IX. The Metropolitan Writers 



The Great Centers of Life 381 
Bayard Taylor .... 384 
Richard Henry Stoddard . 394 
Thomas Bailey Aldrich . 398 
Edmund Clarence Stedman 404 
Richard Watson Gilder . 408 
The Essayists 411 



George William Curtis . 413 
Thomas Wentworth Hig- 

ginson 419 

Charles Dudley Warner . 421 
Donald Grant Mitchell . 423 
Walt Whitman . . . .426 



CHAPTER X. Present Schools and Tendencies 



Universality of the Novel . 435 
William Dean Howells . 438 

Henry James 445 

Francis Marion Crawford . 448 
Two Masters of the Short 

Story 450 

A Group of New England 

Women 453 



The West in Literature 


. 458 


Francis Bret Harte . . 


. 459 


Edward Eggleston . . 


. 461 


American Humor . . 


. 465 


The Essay-Naturalists . 


. 472 


John Burroughs . . . 


. 476 


Biography and Criticism 


. 487 



"Eiizahetiii Jaiiies I. | Charles I. |Com.]Chas.ii.& Jas.ii-i Wiii.iii.,Anne |Georgci^ Georg 



IG 

SPENSER 



00 



17 



00 



BEN JONSON 





72 


ADDISON 




19 






71 


STEE 


LE 




29 


61 




DE FOE 


31 



HOOKER 
91 



IS 


COWLEY 


C7 


74 




08 


MILTON 








HERRICK 




7* 




12 


BUTLER 






80 



JEREMY TAYLOR 



SIR THOMAS BROWNE 



IG 




GRA> 




28 


GOl 




31 






29 





11 


HUME, 


37 , 

RICHARDSON 


07 


FIELDING , 


13 


STERNE! 



ISAAC WALTON 



JOHN SMITH 



WILLIAM BRADFORD 



JOHN WINTHROP 



07 


ROGER WILLIAMS 




83 


04 


JOHN ELIOT 




90 


13 


ANNE BRADSTREET 


72 





MICHAEL WIGGLESWORTH 



COTTON MATHER 28 



SAMUEL SEWALL 



r) ^MIERIC^I?^ ATJTHTOI^S 



George III. 



Wm. 
|Geo.IV.| IV. I 



Victoria 



BURKE 




97 




7G 




GtBBON 




94 









75 JANEAUST 

G4 ANN RADCLI 



00 

SCOTT 



19 



00 



WORDSWORTH 



12 




BROWNING 




89 


11 




THACKERAY 03 


81 




12 




DICKENS 70 






20 


GEORGE ELIOT 





MACAULAY 



22 




MATTHEW ARNOLD 


88 




28 




ROSSETTI 


82 






34 


MORRIS 




90 



PATRICK HENRY 



■90 94_ 
99 



AMUEL ADAMS 



-03 09 



WASHINGTON 



HAMILTON 



HAWTHORNE 



LONGFELLOW 



1 2 19_ 

09 



■J9 BANCROFT 
R 78 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 

CHAPTER I 

THE COLONIAL PERIOD 

American literature is that part of English litera- 
ture that has been produced in America. Unlike 
other national literatures, such as the French or the 
German, American literature had no youth, no growth 
from remote poetic origins in native tradition and 
mythology. It is a fresh graft upon an old stock, 
and the parent tree has become the more ^^ Hshand 
vigorous and fruitful for the grafting. In American 
tracing our literary lineage, we are led at 
once back to " our old home." All English literature 
is our heritage; Longfellow and Tennyson are brothers 
of the same poetic parentage. Chaucer is the ^'father" 
of American, as well as of English poetry, and it is 
a foolish pride and a shallow patriotism that would 
seek to separate our literature from its parent stock, 
for the purpose of giving to it the appearance of an 
isolated nationality. We should be proud, rather, 
of the unbroken kinship of English and American 

9 



10 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

authors, and of the splendid progression of the litera- 
ture of our native tongue, through a period of five 
hundred years, from Geoffrey Chaucer to James Eussell 
Lowell. 

" Literature," wrote Lowell many years ago, " tends 
more and more to become a vast commonwealth with 
no dividing lines of nationality." This condition is 
now realized in the close interrelations of English and 
American literature. Time and space are no longer 
barriers to the free play of common tastes, inspira- 
tions, and ideals. The "Yankee dialect" is no less 
familiar in literary London than is the Yorkshire dia- 
lect. Indeed, already our literature is an important 
part of English culture. It is probable that in England 
to-day Longfellow is the most widely read poet, and 
Emerson is a greater moral force than Carlyle. " Few 
Americans realize," says Clement K. Shorter, "the 
enormous influence which the literature of their own 
land has had upon this country." ^ 

At the beginning, when the wilderness was chang- 
ing from savagery to civilization, and the active forces 
of men, both mental and physical, were limited to the 
struggle for existence, naturally few additions of per- 
manent value were made to English literature on this 
g^j.j side of the ocean. Leisure is required for 

Conditions the making or the enjoying of books ; a 
community must possess tranquillity and comfort 
before it turns its attention seriously to art. Life 
1 " Victorian Literature," 1897, p. 2. 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 11 

in those miniature republics scattered along the ocean 
front of the wilderness, was turbulent and precarious, 
a life of unremitting hardship and incessant warfare 
with the untamed forces of nature. There was little 
time for cultivating literature, and such books as could 
be used in the new home were brought from the old 
home in England. 

But there was much writing, of its kind, in spite of 
these unfavorable conditions. The natural desire to 
communicate with friends left behind in the Old 
World led many to write detailed accounts of personal 
experience. The new and strange objects of the 
natural world, the vast and unexplored forests, un- 
familiar flowers and fruits, wild animals, and mys- 
terious red men, all were subjects for interesting 
descriptions. Then, too, in each band of settlers 
there were wise and far-seeing leaders Literary 
who, conscious of the high destiny of their beginnings 
foundation work, made for posterity careful records of 
their doings. In New England the absorption of the 
common mind in religion and its strong polemical 
character led to an astonishing amount of theological 
writing. And, finally, there were feeble, pathetic at- 
tempts to relieve the barrenness of pioneer life and 
the rigors of an austere religion by indulgences in 
verse-making. But these relics of early American 
intellectual activity are valuable mainly as the ma- 
terial of literature. It requires a great deal of history 
to make a little poetry. Art flourishes best in a soil 



12 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

made rich by the decay of many generations of human 
activity. In the fresh contact of the colonists with 
the wilderness and its wonders there was abundant 
stimulus for the imagination, but they were uninflu- 
enced by such imaginative possibilities. There was 
no perspective, no softening atmospheric distance in 
the pictures presented to their vision ; everything was 
in the foreground, a glaring, hard reality. Two cen- 
turies passed before the romance and poetry of this 
life found expression through Hawthorne, Whittier, 
and Longfellow. 

Poetry, however, is not all of art. Literature is an 
expression of life; and the best literature, that is, 
artistic literature, is an expression of the best life. 
The Function Genius is representative ; it condenses and 
of Literature crystallizes into forms of permanent beauty 
the life of its environment. Every faithful tran- 
script of human thought and experience, however 
crude and inartistic, is valuable in the interpretation 
of all related life. For this reason the literary striv- 
ings of our colonial forefathers have for us a priceless 
value, in the light that they throw upon the expression 
of our subsequent life. It would be impossible, for 
example, to penetrate the mystery of Hawthorne's 
genius, or breathe freely in the tenuous atmosphere of 
Emerson's transcendentalism, without a direct knowl- 
edge of the spiritual rigidity and gloom of Puritanism 
in the days of John Endicott. 

A colonial literature is conservative and imitative, 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 13 

not progressive and original. It is content to repro- 
duce the established types and to reflect the accepted 

masterpieces. Its genius, such as it may 

• . P -I 1 o. 1 Colonialism 

have, is m a state oi dependency, buch 

was the general character of literary work in America 
for two centuries. All writers of the seventeenth 
century copied the models of the Elizabethan Age, and 
usually made poor copies ; in the eighteenth century 
the influence of Pope continued to dominate American 
letters long after its force had been broken in Eng- 
land. But with the beginning of national life this 
conservatism and timidity began to wear away, and 
freedom and originality gradually to appear. Literary 
independence, however, was not achieved until long 
after the establishment of political independence. 
The first clear note of intellectual freedom was 
sounded by Emerson in 1837. But with the general 
progress of national life there has been a continuous 
development of a distinctive Americanism in our 
literature, corresponding to the development of per- 
sonal and social traits that now constitute our dis- 
tinctive national character; and yet these qualities, 
it must be remembered, are incidental rather than 
fundamental. The grape is a grape everywhere, but 
in each region where the vine flourishes it produces a 
wine possessing some distinguishing flavor or color, 
due to some difference of soil, climate, or cultivation. 
So English literature in America, while retaining its 
fundamental English character, presents certain new 



14 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

traits and qualities that could have appeared only in 

America. 

American literature is divided naturally into three 

general periods. First, the Colonial Period, from 1607 

to 1765, the year of the Stamp Act. Second, the 

Period of the Revolution, from 1765 to 
Periods 

1789, the year of the establishment of the 

national government. Third, the National Period, 
which may be subdivided into First Part, extending 
from 1789, the beginning of the government, to 1861, 
the beginning of the Civil War, and Second Part, 
from the Civil War to the present time. Within 
these periods, authors will be found to arrange them- 
selves readily into groups, according to some common 
tendency or general movement of thought. Moreover, 
certain general characteristics will be found to distin- 
guish each period. In the first part of the National 
Period there were two great intellectual forces, the 
Transcendental Movement and the Antislavery Move- 
ment, both centered in New England. Through the 
influence of the latter and its culmination in the 
Civil War, a more complete nationalism was reached- 
Hence in the second part of this period we find litera- 
ture becoming less local and provincial and increas- 
ingly national in its characteristics and interests. 

Since the beginnings of American literature were 
but the distant echoes of the nobler voices of England, 
it is necessary to keep in mind as thoroughly as possi- 
ble the contemporary activities in English literature. 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 15 

Our literature was born at an auspicious moment; 
the grand outburst of Elizabethan literature had just 
reached the climax of its splendor. While Literature in 
Captain John Smith was writing the first England 
American book by the campfires of Jamestown, 
Shakspere was probably writing " Coriolanus " and 
" King Lear." Bacon had just published the " Ad- 
vancement of Learning," in 1605, and in 1611 ap- 
peared the Authorized Version of the Bible. Each 
year London was listening to new dramas from the 
brilliant Shaksperian brotherhood of playwrights, 
Ben Jonson, Beaumont, Fletcher, Chapman, Web- 
ster, Marston, and the others. In 1620, the year of 
the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, Bacon's 
" Novum Organum " was given to the world, and three 
years later appeared the first collected edition of 
Shakspere's works, the " First Folio," a book that 
marks the most glorious epoch in the history of the 
human mind. These products of English genius 
must be used as the basis of all interpretation of the 
early literary experiments in colonial America. 



CAVALIERS AND ROUNDHEADS IN AMERICA 

The most romantic part of American history is the 
colonial period in the Old Dominion. The name of 
Virginia itself associates the beginnings xhe 
of our nation with the most illustrious age Virginians 
of English history, literature, and chivalry, and it is 



16 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

X^leasant to connect with the first efforts of American 
colonization the name of that courtliest of Queen Eli- 
zabeth's knights, Sir Walter Ealeigh. An impenetra- 
ble mystery still rests upon the ill-fated attempt of 
Raleigh to plant a colony at Roanoke in 1585 ; but his 
wise policy of extending the English dominions in the 
New World by establishing permanent agricultural 
colonies, rather than by military plundering expedi- 
tions in the Spanish manner, was followed by other 
distinguished Englishmen, who were moved by the 
spirit of the age to engage in hazardous enterprises in 
these strange and alluring regions of the West. 

In 1607 the first successful English colony was 
planted at Jamestown, and for many years the eyes 
of all England were fixed anxiously upon that peril- 
ous spot in the illimitable wilderness. Although the 
London Company had sent out this band of adven-' 
turers mainly for commercial and private gain, yet 
the thrilling enterprise of hewing out a new empire 
in the Virginia forests awakened national interest. 
The new king bestowed upon the undertaking his 
royal attention, and the good old Elizabethan poet, 
Michael Drayton, hailed the departure of these " be- 
ginners of a nation" with an inspiring ode, full of 
high hope and prophetic promise. Cheerily he bade 
them adieu : — 

Britons, you stay too long ; 
Quickly aboard bestow you ; 
And with a merry gale 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 17 

Swell your stretch'd sail ; 
With vows as strong 
As the winds that blow you. 

Virginia and Massachusetts, says Lowell, were the 
" two great distributing centers of the English race in 
America." From Jamestown and Plymouth flowed 
two mighty streams of influence, dissimilar and for 
one hundred years entirely separate, but uniting in 
the period of the Revolution to form the swift and 
deep current of a new national life. Two „. . . 

.... Virginia 

types of men with distinct ideals of life and Massa- 
were represented by the founders of these ^ "^^ ^ 
two colonies ; in England these types came to be dis- 
tinguished as " Cavaliers " and " Roundheads," and in 
America the qualities for which these terms stand 
may still to some extent be traced in the distinction 
between "North" and "South." The leading fami- 
lies of Virginia were from the higher ranks of Eng- 
lish society, and were strongly bound to royalty and 
the established church; nearly half of the first set- 
tlers at Jamestown were called "'gentlemen," men 
born to wealth and cultivated leisure. They came to 
the New World, not like the Puritans in pursuit of 
spiritual ideals, but from love of adventure, or in the 
hope of great fortune. They did not, like the Puri- 
tans, from the very beginning seek permanent homes 
on this side of the ocean and begin at once the foun- 
dation of new social institutions. Of the Plymouth 
Pilgrims not one returned, while of the Jamestown 
c 



18 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

colonists not one remained who could find means to 
get back to England. They were lured to Virginia 
by visions of an El Dorado such as the Spaniards had 
found in Mexico and Peru; but it was only after 
many years of suffering and disappointment that the 
golden treasure was discovered in the tobacco planta- 
tions. 

The cultivation of only one or two staple products, 
as tobacco and cotton, the use of slave labor, and the 
inheritance of a feudal ideal of life, were the deter- 
mining factors in the social and intellectual develop- 
ment of the southern colonies. Upon their broad 
Plantation plantations the wealthy planters lived in a 
^^*® kind of baronial isolation, surrounded by 

large families and troops of slaves, and exchanging at 
infrequent intervals, with a stately and gracious hos- 
pitality, the courtesies of social life. In the northern 
colonies the rule of settlement was centralization, the 
gathering of the settlers in town and village com- 
munities, with common and unifying interests ; in the 
South the rule of settlement was dispersion, the dot- 
ting of the country here and there with manorial resi- 
dences, with no common meeting-place except the 
courthouse. Education and religion were almost as 
thoroughly neglected in Virginia as they were thor- 
oughly cultivated in Massachusetts. Culture was 
confined to the few leading families whose intel- 
lectual tastes were fashioned by English books and 
instructors. Such conditions were unfavorable for 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 19 

the growth of a native literature, and. hence we find 
that until after the Civil War there was only an in- 
cipient and comparatively fruitless literary activity 
in the South. 

But there was the best of English blood in the 
veins of some of those first Virginians ; they were 
from a race of men born to rule, and their mode of 
life tended to develop an aptitude for politics and 
political leadership. The southern colonies did not 
rear poets and philosophers, but they did rear states- 
men, and it is the first distinction of Virginia to be 
called the "Mother of Presidents." 

Of the original Jamestown settlers, the one of chief 
interest to history and literature is the redoubtable 
Captain John Smith, a typical adventurer . 

of seventeenth-century romance. Accord- John Smith, 
ing to his own story, he had already been ^579-1631 
engaged in many marvelous exploits in Flanders, Bar- 
bary, Turkey, and Tartary, and an experience with the 
mysterious " salvages " of the Virginia forests was 
quite to his relish. A vainglorious and boastful story- 
teller he undoubtedly was, but to his brave and saga- 
cious leadership the colony owed its survival, and to 
his diligence with the pen we owe the intensely inter- 
esting beginnings of American history and literature. 
Even though the incidents in his early narratives 
were highly embellished in his later versions, and 
even though some of his best stories, such as the 
Pocahontas scene, have nearly evaporated into myth, 



20 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



yet there is so substantial a basis of fact underlying 
all liis descriptions that we can afford to take his 
word upon liberal faith when he says : " I thank God 
I never undertook anything yet [wherein] any could 

tax me of carelessness 
or dishonesty." In- 
deed, upon the author- 
ity of Fiske, we may 
accept the Pocahontas 
story, without qualifi- 
cation, the current 
skepticism regarding 
that incident being 
based, as he shows, 
upon imperfect under- 
standing of Indian 
customs.^ 

During the first year 
at Jamestown, Captain 
Smith wrote the first 
book ever written in 
America, " A True Ee- 
lation of Such Occur- 
rences and Accidents of Note as have happened in 
Virginia." The book was published in London the fol- 
The First lowing ycar^ 1608, and sold " at the Grey- 
Book hound in Paul's Church-yard," only a few 
steps from the house in which Milton was born the 
1 "Old Virginia and Her Neighbors," Vol. I, pp. 102-111. 




(_ J heje art the LinCil tktu Pw^ thy ScUehuc rfuife. 
nTiatJhcy^ thy Grace and ^Cory bt-iyhter bee 
(Thy Faire.'Difanuj-vj and, Foy»lt-- Ovtrthro^ 

of SdlvcLgej mu^A Civiiiizd by 
£e/l Jhc^ thy Jpi'if and to ir Glory 
•So thou arc BraJjA wxOumt bia QoUle. Wukay,. 
(Jfjo tn BrafseJcoo Jhfi smiOu ^cu i 
I/i^thyFame,a>'naKe,I>VLfi^ rtacie 

V7^i»i« arduiuart '^vftutJ. 
^Jjri-^ (S,u,^ X^ 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 21 

same year. It is a picturesque account of the stirring 
events in which the author was the central figure, 
written in a rough, vigorous style, quite worthy of a 
brave Indian fighter; hardly to be called literature, 
rather the material for literature ; but there is a heroic 
vim, an Elizabethan breeziness about it, and a fresh- 
ness arising from first experience with wild nature and 
wild men, that make its rugged pages good reading. 
The following passage describing the author's capture 
by the Indians will illustrate his sword-hewn style : — 

My hinde [Indian] treated betwixt them and me of condi- 
tions of peace ; he discouered me to be the Captaine : my 
request was to retire to the boate : they demaunded my armes, 
the rest they saide were slaine, onely me they would reserue : 

The Indian importuned me not to shoot. In retiring being 
in the midst of a low quagmire, and minding them more then 
my steps, I stept fast into the quagmire, and also the Indian in 
drawing me forth : 

Thus surprised, I resolued to trie their mercies : my armes 
I caste from me, till which none durst approch me. 

Being ceazed on me, they drew me out and led me to the 
King. I presented him with a compasse diall, describing by 
.my best meanes the vse therof: whereat he so amazedly ad- 
mired, as he suffered me to proceed in a discourse of the 
roundnes of the earth, the course of the sunne, moone, starres 
and plannets. 

With kinde speeches and bread he requited me, conducting 
me where the Canow lay and lohn RohUnson slaine, with 20 
or 30. arrowes in him. Emry I saw not. 

Smith wrote eight other books, all of which show 
his enthusiastic devotion to the cause of American 
colonization ; the most important are " New England's 



22 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Trials " and the " General History of Virginia." He 
explored the New England coast, and after an unsuc- 
cessful attempt, in 1615, to plant a colony there, laid 
aside his sword and compass. During the remainder 
of his life he contented himself with his advent nrous 
pen, enjoying the celebrity of a veteran explorer ; but 
not with perfect comfort, it would seem, for there 
were those who taxed him through envy, he says, 
with having " writ too much and done too little." 

Among the early Virginians were other writers whose works 
are worthy of attention for their great historic value, and in 
some cases, for their genuine literary interest. William 
Strachey's vigorous description of the storm and shipwreck 
encountered by Sir Thomas Gates in the Bermudas in 1610 is 
believed to have furnished Shakspere with his "still vexed 
Bermoothes," and the opening scene of the "Tempest." 
Alexander Whitaker, " the Apostle of Virginia," wrote " Good 
News from Virginia," described by the poet Crashawe as a 
Other "pithy and godly exhortation, interlaced with 

Virginian narratives of many particulars touching the coun- 

Writers try, climate, and commodities." George Sandys, 

the friend of Drayton and other Elizabethans, completed at 
Jamestown his excellent translation of Ovid's "Metamor- 
phoses," a book that should have for us " a sort of sacredness," 
says Tyler, " as the morning star at once of poetry and of 
scholarship in the new world." John Hammond wrote enthu- 
siastically of "Leah and Rachel," that is, "the two fruitful 
sisters, Virginia and Maryland." The " Burwell Papers" con- 
tain an important contemporary account of Bacon's Rebel- 
lion. The strongest intellectual influence in the South before 
the Revolution was James Blair, founder of William and Mary 
College, and author of "The Present State of Virginia." The 
first native-born historian of Virginia was Robert Beverly, 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 23 

whose vigorously written " History of Virginia" was first pub- 
lished in 1705. The " History of the Dividing Line," by Wil- 
liam Byrd, written in a bright and humorous style, gives a 
lively picture of colonial life. A more critical, but less inter- 
esting work is William Stith's "History of Virginia," pub- 
lished in 1747. If one would know the real life of the Old 
Dominion, one should read liberal extracts from these quaint 
and clumsy old chroniclers. 

"I shall make them conform themselves," said 
James I in reference to the Puritans, " or I will harry 
them out of the land, or else do worse." This royal 
threat explains the initial force in the xhe 
colonization of New England. Massachu- Puritans 
setts Bay was a harbor of refuge for those English 
people who, filled with the spirit of Protestant revolt, 
spread abroad in Europe by the Eeformation, de- 
manded the right of free worship. Under the long 
ordeal of Stuart persecution, these schismatics, non- 
conformists, " Koundheads," worked out a new national 
ideal, the foundation ideal of American liberty. 

The Mayflower Pilgrims who landed at Plymouth 
Rock in 1620, and the Puritans who followed rapidly, 
planting their little settlements along the Massachu- 
setts coast northward, were people of remarkable qual- 
ities, and their influence upon the development of our 
national life has been proportionally important. The 
heroic, high-minded, undismayed determination with 
which these people pursued their ideal of civil and 
religious liberty to its realization is one of the grand- 
est exhibitions of human virtue in all history. Their 



24 ' AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

tremendous earnestness, though to the modern mind 
sometimes comic as well as tragic in its expression, will 
Puritan never lose its impress! ven ess. They came 

Qualities to the New World not like the Virginians, 
to seek wealth and adventure, but to found new homes 
and new institutions, to set up new altars of justice 
and religion. They were nation builders from the 
start. Around the "meeting-house" they gathered in 
closely united communities, governed by rulers of their 
own choice, recognizing no '^ established " church or 
sovereign by divine right, responsible only to God 
and their own consciences. Life, by their stern creed, 
being mainly a preparation for death, religion became 
an all-absorbing passion, and sacrifice and suffering 
were accepted as divinely appointed instruments for 
purifying the soul. 

Their religion, born in an atmosphere of protest, 
and nurtured by controversy, was more intellectual 
than spiritual ; although illustrations of the religion 
of true holiness and of sanctified love were not want- 
ing among them, the mind rather than the heart was 
the instrument for the exercise of religious faith. 
Education was, therefore, of vital importance ; public 
Education instruction was made compulsory, and only 
and Puri- sixteen years after the landing of the Pil- 
anism grims. Harvard College was founded. " A 

hard student, a good scholar, and a great Christian," 
is the significant epitaph on an old tombstone in 
Salem. And the admonition of the Spartan mother, 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 25 

" Return with thy shield or upon it," is not more wor- 
thily memorable than the words of the Puritan mother 
to her son, " Child, if God make thee a good Christian 
and a good scholar, thou hast all that thy mother ever 
asked for thee." Many of these colonists were men 
.of broad education, graduates of Oxford and Cam- 
bridge, who furnished a strong intellectual stimulus 
for each little community. "In all history," says 
Fiske, "there has been no other instance of coloniza- 
tion so exclusively effected by picked and chosen men. 
The colonists knew this, and were proud of it, as well 
they might be. It was the simple truth that was 
spoken by William Stoughton when he said in his 
election sermon of 1688, ' God sifted a whole nation, 
that he might send choice grain into the wilderness.' " 
Nevertheless, those sober-faced, serious-minded New 
Englanders were a people whom one to-day would not 
like to live among. Hardship, isolation, a fatalistic 
creed, and the constant dwelling upon religious themes 
and their application to the minutest de- Rigors of 
tails of daily life, made them severe, mor- Puritanism 
bid, superstitious, and fanatical. The New England 
conscience became, for a time, as stern a despot as 
ever King Charles had been. Liberty was perverted 
into intolerance. They persecuted Baptists and Quak- 
ers, and hanged witches. They prohibited Christmas 
and Mayday festivals, made laws against long hair 
and large dress sleeves, put women in the stocks for 
scolding, and solemnly whipped children for being 



26 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

merry. In the course of two generations, the broad- 
mindedness and lofty idealism of the first settlers — of 
Bradford, Winthrop, and their associa,tes — deterio- 
rated into intellectual narrowness, religious bigotry, 
and spiritual gloom. Under the limitations of such 
a society this change was inevitable, but a compensa- 
tion has been found in the final results of Puritanism. 
The indomitable vigor and the inflexible fidelity of 
this life made a contribution to our national character 
that is now a source of national pride. ''Let us thank 
God for having given us such ancestors," said Haw- 
thorne, '•' and let each successive generation thank Him 
not less fervently for being one step further from 
them in the march of ages. " 

The men who lived this austere life, being con- 
sciously engaged in laying the foundations of an ideal 
commonwealth that should be ruled by God's law 
rather than by man's law, would naturally'^esire to 
make permanent records of their deeds; 
England also, men over whose every action God's 

ronic ers presence was believed to rest like a flam- 
ing sword, would naturally make their records serious 
and scrupulously minute. Hence we find many elab- 
orate journals and diaries, in which the great and the 
little things of daily life were recorded with pious 
care. The best of these records are chronicles rather 
than histories, which have furnished the abundant 
material for all subsequent histories of the period. 
Tedious they are as a whole, yet they possess for us 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 27 

a vital interest, for in the pages of these original 
documents the Jife of early New England is seen as 
in a mirror. 

The earliest and the best of these colonial chronicles 
is the '' History of Plymouth Plantation/' by William 
Bradford, the noble leader of the Plymouth 
Pilgrims. A singular fortune has attended Bradford, 
this work. It was left in manuscript by ^^^"^ ^^ 
the author at his death in 1657, was used by Nathaniel 
Morton Avhen writing his " New England's Memorial," 
by Thomas Prince in compiling his "Chronological 
History of New England," and again by Thomas 
Hutchinson in the composition of his "History of 
Massachusetts Bay." In 1775, when the library of 
Thomas Prince, stowed away in the tower of Old 
South Church, was plundered by British soldiers, 
this precious manuscript disappeared, and for nearly 
a century was supposed to have been destroyed. In 
1855 it was discovered in the library of the Bishop 
of London, and was then copied and published in 
America. Finally, in 1897, by decree of the Consistory 
Court of the Diocese of London, the priceless relic 
was returned to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.^ 

The merit of this work entitles the author, in 
Tyler's opinion, "to the preeminence of being called 
the father of American history," The heroic governor 

1 For the full story of the Ms., see the official edition of "The 
Bradford History," 1900, containing also an account of the formal 
presentation to the governor of Massachusetts. 



28 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

tells the story of the long and bitter struggle of the 
Plymouth plantation " from the very root and rise of 
"F th ^^^ same," and holds to his purpose to 
of American write "in a plain style, with singular re- 
^^ °^^ gard unto the simple truth in all things." 

The narrative extends to the year 1646. It is grave 
in tone, straightforward and vigorous in expression, 
with touches of an unconscious but genuine literary 
gift that pleasantly relieves the monotony of solemn 
incidents, and gives evidence throughout of the wise, 
patient, and magnanimous mind of the author. Like 
Plymouth Kock, this book lies at the gateway of 
American history, imperishable, and imperative in its 
demands upon the attention of every student of 
American life. The following passage will illustrate 
some of its qualities : — 

Being thus arrived at Cap-Cod ye 11. of November, and 
necessitie calling tliem to looke out a place for habitation, (as 
well as the maisters & mariners importunitie,) they having 
brought a large shalop with them out of England, stowed in 
quarters in ye ship, they now gott her out & sett their carpenters 
to worke to trime her up ; but being much brused & shatered 
in ye shipe w^^ foule weather, they saw she would be longe in 
mending. Wherupon a few of them L^ndered them selves to 
goe by land and discovere those nearest places, whilst y® shallop 
was in mending ; and ye rather because as they wente into y* 
harbor ther seemed to be an opening some 2. or 3 leagues of, 
which ye maister judged to be a river. It was conceived ther 
might be some danger in ye attempte, yet seeing them resolute, 
they were permited to goe, being 16. of them well armed, under 
ye conduct of Captain Standish, having shuch instructions given 
them as was thought meete. They sett forth ye 15. of Nove**': 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 29 

and when they had marched aboute y^ space of a mile by y^ sea 
side, they espied 5. or 6. persons with a dogg coming towards 
them, who were salvages ; but they fled from them, & rane up 
into y^ woods, and y^ English followed them. . . . but they 
soone lost both them & them selves, falling into shuch thickets 
as were ready to tear their cloaths & armore in peeces. . . . 
And proceeding furder they saw new-stuble wher corne had 
been set y^ same year, also they found wher latly a house had 
been, wher some planks and a great ketle was remaining, and 
heaps of sand newly padled with their hands, which they, dig- 
ging up, found in them diverce faire Indean baskets filled with 
corne, and some in eares, faire and good, of diverce collours, 
which seemed to them a very goodly sight, (haveing never seen 
any shuch before) ... so their time limeted them being ex- 
pired, they returned to y^ ship, least they should be in fear of 
their saftie ; and tooke with them parte of y^ corne, and buried 
up y® rest, and so like y^ men from Eshcoll carried with them 
of ye fruits of y^ land, & showed their breethren; of which, 
& their returne, they were marvelusly glad, and their harts 
incouraged. 



Next in importance to Bradford's narrative is the 
"History of New England," by Governor John Win- 
throp, leader of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. This 
is a faithful, tlnadorned record of early ^^^ 
Puritanism, picturing in hard outline its Winthrop, 
toil, sufferings, meannesses, and snpersti- ^^ "^ ^^ 
tions, as well as its pathos, dignity, and faith. It is 
in the form of a journal, written with care only for 
an honest statement of facts, and covers the period 
from 1630 to 1648. One passage is celebrated for 
both form and matter, the exposition of the doctrine 
of true liberty in his defense before the general 



30 AMEKICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

court, when charged with exceeding his official au- 
thority. In this fine plea one almost catches the 
lofty sound of Milton's voice. 

Dull and unreadable itself, for the most part, this 
solemn diary has served as a treasure-house of rich 
material for poetry and romance. Here Hawthorne 
found the story of " Endicott and the Eed Cross," 
and the "Maypole of Merry Mount," and the hint 
that led to the ''Scarlet Letter." Here, too, is the 
substance of Longfellow's " New England Tragedies," 
and of Whittier's "Eamilists' Hymn," and "John 
Underbill." By the deft touch of genius the dusty 
pages of the old chronicle have been transformed 
into works of imperishable beauty. 

More interesting to read than the journals of Brad- 
ford and Winthrop, because more genuinely human, 
is the private " Diary " of Judge Samuel 
Sewaii, Sewall. Eor more than half a century, 

1652-1730 f^.^j^^ ^Qj^ ^Q ^^29, this " Puritan Pepys," 
with picturesque vanity and perfect honesty, like his 
prototype, the delightful English • gossip of the 
Restoration, made a daily transcript of the littleness 
and the greatness, the practical thrift, the homely 
humor, and the sanctimonious severity of his life and 
of the life of his community. Thus he writes : — 

Went to Cambridge and visited Mr. Danforth, and dis- 
coursed with Him about the Witchcraft. . . . Set two Chest- 
nuts at Mr. Bromfield's Orchard, and three at our own, hoping 
they may come up in the Spring. . . . Order comes out for a 



i] ' THE COLONIAL PERIOD 31 

Fast. I carry one to Mr. Willard. Mrs. Willard talks to me 
very sharply about Capt. Alden's not being at the Lord's Sup- 
per last Sabbath-day. ... I drove a Treenail in the Govern- 
our's Briganteen ; and invited his Excellency to drink a Glass 
of Brandy, which was pleas'd to doe with Capt. Greenough, 
Mr. Jackson Elliston, and his little Son. . . . Carried my 
daughter Hahah to Salem in company of Mr. Hathorne and 
Sam. Wakefield. . . . Went in with Mr. Cotton Mather to 
Mr. Bradstreets, and heard him pray. ... At 6 aclock my 
ink freezes so that I can hardly write by a good fire in my 
wive's chamber. Yet was very comfortable at Meeting. Laus 
Deo . . . Joseph threw a knop of Brass and hit his Sister 
Betty on the forhead so as to make it bleed and swell ; upon 
which, and for his playing at Prayer-time, and eating when 
Returne Thanks, I whipd him pretty smartly. When I first 
went in (call'd by his Grandmother) he sought to shadow and 
hide himself from me behind the head of the Cradle : which 
gave me the sorrowfuU remembrance of Adam's carriage. 

His extravagant piety, his several courtships, his 
delight in " assisting " at funerals, his horror of wigs, 
maypoles, Quakers, and the Prayer Book, are all set 
forth with the same frank minuteness of detail. The 
reader is often reminded that Sewall was one of the 
judges who condemned the witches to death ; but of 
this he afterward repented, and made a public con- 
fession of the error of his judgment. It is pleasanter 
to remember that he was the author of the first anti- 
slavery tract written in America, " The Selling of 
Joseph," published in 1700. He holds a place in 
literature, however, only by means of the unique 
"Diary." The completeness with which this work 
pictures Puritan society in and around Boston at the 



32 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

close of the first century of the life of the colonies, 
makes it " the most important work of original au- 
thority in the whole range of New England history.'^ ^ 

Many other works of a historical character deserve to be 
mentioned for their interest and value as original material for 
portraying the life of New England during the colonial period. 
Among these are Nathaniel Morton's ''New England's Memo- 
rial," compiled largely from the Bradford manuscript and from 
"certain diurnals of the honored Mr. Edward Winslow"; 
Edward Johnson's "Wonder-working Providence of Zion's 

Saviour in New England," which Tyler regards 
Other ms- as " a most authentic and priceless memorial of 
jjj American character and life in the heroic epoch " ; 

the "Journal" of Bradford and Winslow, cover- 
ing the first year at Plymouth, and the cohtinuation by Wins- 
low alone in his " Good News from New England " ; the saintly 
Francis Higginson's "New England's Plantation," containing 
a "description of the commodities and discommodities of that 
country"; and William Wood's "New England's Prospect," 
published in 1634, which is, as the author asserts, " a true, 
lively, and experimental " description of the geography, climate, 
products, and native inhabitants of the New World. John 
Mason's " History of the Pequot War " ; Daniel Gookin's "His- 
torical Account," a manly defense of the Indians against the 
fanatical and bloody zeal of the colonists ; William Hubbard's 
" Indian Wars," and Mary Rowlandson's thrilling narrative of 
her captivity, are early and readable books about the Indians. 
A unique place will always be held by Nathaniel Ward's "Sim- 
ple Cobbler of Agawam," a prose satire, full of wit, wisdom, 
and bigotry, aimed at toleration, the frivolous fashions of men 
and women, and other signs of the times, accepted by the 
author as evidence that " Sathan is now in his passions-" 

1 Henry Cabot Lodge, " A Puritan Pepys," Historical Studies, 
p. 22. 



i] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 33 

An exceedingly interesting work is the "Journar' of Sarah 
Kemble Knight, containing an account of the writer's adven- 
turous journey from Boston to New York in 1704, full of wit, 
humor, and graphic description. A long stride toward sys- 
tematic historical writing was made by Thomas Prince in his 
"Chronological History of New England," published in 1786. 
But still more elaborate and valuable is the " History of Massa- 
chusetts Bay," by Thomas Hutchinson, the last of the British 
governors ; this work extends from 1028 to 1774, and its merits 
are such as to entitle the author to be ranked, says Tyler, as 
"the ablest historical writer produced in America prior to the 
nineteenth century." 

THE NEW ENGLAND PREACHERS 

The inteUectual power of colonial New England 
was centered in the clergy. Eeligion was the busi- 
ness of life ; the Bible was the rule of action, both 
public and private ; the state was a theocracy, and the 
preachers were mighty men and rulers in the land. 
Only church members were permitted to powerof 
vote in town meeting. Absence from church ^^® ciergy 
service was punished with fines and the stocks, and it 
was the sheriff's duty during service to keep the 
young people from smiling and the old people from 
dropping to sleep. The power of the clergy, exercised 
over temporal as well as spiritual matters, was as 
august as the sanctified authority of priests and 
kings. 

The work of these preachers w^as solemn, laborious, 
enormous ; sermons were sometimes two and three 
hours long, and prayers often quite as long. " Mr. 

D 



34 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Torry stood up and prayed near two hours/' wrote a 
Harvard student, " but the time obliged him to close, 
to our regret." In the absence of newspapers and all 
forms of popular entertainment, the sermon was the 
absorbing topic of social interests. " Whether men 
should be encouraged in the use of means toward 
their conversion ; " " Whether God is under any ob- 
ligation to hear and answer the prayers of those who 
The Work of ^^'^ unconverted ; " with the discussion of 
the Clergy g^^^]^ questions as these, the people sharp- 
ened their intellects and narrowed their souls. The 
sermons were ponderous and elaborate, laid out upon 
an exhaustive scale, and extending sometimes to the 
" twenty-eighthly," often highly rhetorical and largely 
devoted to the cardinal doctrines of Calvinism, total 
depravity, election, and eternal punishment. They 
display vast learning and strong reasoning, bearing 
witness to the marvelous intellectual energy of both 
preachers and hearers 5 but they are now interesting 
mainly as remarkable examples of a doctrinal earnest- 
ness that has passed away, perhaps forever. 

Among the most eminent of the early ministers were 
Thomas Hooker, the founder of Hartford, Thomas 
Shepard, the " soul-melting preacher " of Cambridge, 

and that "famous man of God," John Cot- 
John Cotton ' 

ton, minister of the first church of Boston. 

In learning Cotton was, according to his grandson. Cot- 
ton Mather, " a living system of the liberal arts, and a 
walking library " ; but of some forty published works, 



I] 



THE COLONIAL PERIOD 



35 




36 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

only one attained to long life, his catechism called 
" Spiritual Milk for Babes," included in the famous 
" New England Primer." 

The Puritan church was a church militant, and 
the preachers were generally good fighters. The " old 
deluder Sathan" was forever reappearing in new 
forms of heresy and in new appeals for toleration, 
which must be swept away by panoplied arguments 
A Fighting from Scripture. Skill in dialectics was 
Church quite as essential in the pulpit as holiness. 

It was the fame of Prancis Higginson to be " mighty 
in the Scriptures, learned in the tongues, able to con- 
vince gainsay ers." A large part of the ponderous 
publications of these sturdy theologians is composed 
of controversial pamphlets and treatises, and it is 
appalling to contemplate the amount of brain force 
expended upon these works that are now but the dry 
husks of principles once held to be as vitally essential 
to religion as to theology. 

The great antagonist of Cotton was Roger Williams, 
who made himself obnoxious to the Massachusetts 
Puritans by pushing their principle of religious liberty 
to its logical conclusion. He insisted upon toleration 
jj^ gj. of other creeds, as of the Baptists and 

Williams, Quakers, and upon freedom of conscience in 
^ ° ^ ^ both civil and religious matters, advocating 

what is now understood by the separation of Church 
and State. Banished from Massachusetts, he founded 
a colony in Rhode Island, upon the basis of broad 



1] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 37 

toleration. Williams was a great-hearted and noble- 
minded reformer, the fearless champion of principles 
that waited until our own time for victory, but like 
most reformers he was fired with an indiscreet zeal 
that often verged upon fanaticism. He was a vigor- 
ous and voluminous writer, his main theme being 
" Christian libertie " ; his chief work, " The Bloody 
Tenet of Persecution," was published in 1644, the 
year in which Milton's grand plea for liberty, the 
" Areopagitica," appeared. 

Unlike most of the Puritan leaders, Roger Williams 
was kind to the Indians. " My soul's desire was to 
do the natives good," he says ; and in this spirit he 
spent much time among them, preaching and studying 
their language ; and to facilitate such missionary work, 
he wrote a "Key into the Language of America." But 
the one great "Apostle to the Indians" was John 
Eliot, whose translation of the Bible into the Algon- 
quin language was the first Bible printed john Eiiot, 
in America. He believed the Indians to be 1604-1690 
descended from the ten lost tribes of Israel ; and to their 
education and Christianization he devoted a life of the 
most rigorous toil and sacrifice, acting as their friend 
and defender at times when the colonists were deter- 
mined upon their extermination. "I have sometimes 
doubted," says Hawthorne, " whether there was more 
than a single man among our forefathers who realized 
that an Indian possessed a mind and a heart and an 
immortal soul. That single man was John Eliot." 



38 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

The most celebrated of the theological giants who 
ruled New England were the chief members of the 
Mather family, — a veritable tribe of Levi, — ten of 
whom became clergymen within three generations. 
The Mather The founder of the " Mather Dynasty " 
Dynasty ^^^^ Richard, who came to New England 
in 1635. He was a graduate of Oxford, a distinguished 
classical scholar, a voracious reader and voluminous 
writer, and a famous preacher in Old England as well 
as in New England, with a voice " loud and big " that 
" procured unto his ministry an awful and very taking 
majesty." Four of the six sons of Richard became 
preachers, the greatest of whom was Increase, born 
at Dorchester, in 1639. He entered Harvard College 
Increase ^^ twelve, began to preach at nineteen, and 

Mather, after a course of study at Trinity College, 

1 39-1723 Dublin, was settled over the North Church 
of Boston ; where, " wielding the most tremendous 
weapon of influence known in such a community, he 
continued to fulminate, to the delight of his adherents, 
to the great terror of his foes, for almost sixty years." 
He was a stupendous worker, spending sixteen hours a 
day at his studies, and a powerful pulpit orator, with a 
voice like his father's, which he used " with such a toni- 
truous cogency," says his son Cotton, "that the hearers 
would be struck with an awe like what would be pro- 
duced on the fall of thunderbolts." Of his nearly one 
hundred published works, only one retains a living 
interest, " An Essay for the Recording of Illustrious 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 39 

Providences." Many of the stories in this weird Puri- 
tan storybook — " remarkable sea deliverances," " re- 
markables about thunder and lightning," judgments 
upon Quakers, "demons and possessed persons," 
and " apparitions " — are well told, and illustrate the 
strange mixture of piety, superstition, and ignorance 
of natural laws habitual to the thought of the best 
minds of that period. 

The most gigantic Mather of all was the eldest of 
the ten children of Increase, Cotton Mather, "the 
literary behemoth of New England." He was born 
in 1663, entered Harvard at eleven, was preaching at 
seventeen, and at twenty-two became associated with 
his father in the pastorate of the North Church, where 
he remained until removed by death in 1728. He 
was a prodigy of learning and laborious piety, possess- 
ing a marvelous memory and an enormous capacity 
and zeal for work. Indeed, the term "prodigious- 
ness" best expresses the summary of his qualities. 
Like Bacon, he chose all knowleds^e for his 

' * Cotton 

province, and made vast conquests in his Mather, 
chosen field. His library was the largest ^^^3"^728 
in America. He knew seven languages, studied and 
wrote incessantly, and published over three hundred 
and eighty works. Body and spirit he disciplined 
with ascetic strictness ; in a single year, besides his 
regular church work, he is said to have published 
fourteen books, kept twenty vigils and sixty fasts. 
When troubled about the publication of his " Church 



40 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



History," he "set apart a vigil," he says; "in the 
dead of the night, I first sang some agreeable psalms, 
and then casting myself prostrate into the dust, on 
my study floor, before the Lord, I confessed unto him 
the sins for which he might justly reject me and all my 

services." So devotedly 
attentive to God's will, 
and so restlessly ener- 
getic in the execution 
of that will on earth, as 
he interpreted it, he 
naturally was foremost 
among the prosecutors 
of the witchcraft vic- 
tims; and his "Won- 
ders of the Invisible 
World," containing an 
account of the Salem 
trials and executions, 
is an awful warning of the possible extent to which 
the human understanding may be perverted. 

The greatest work of Mather, and the only one to 
be discussed as literature, is the "Magnalia Christi 
Americana; or, The Ecclesiastical History of New 
England," a work of vast proportions, in plan some- 
The what like the "Worthies" and "Church 

"Magnalia" History" of Thomas Fuller. It is a 
wonderful book, " a bulky thing," as the author called 
it, of over one thousand folio pages ; it contains the 




Cotton Mather 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 41 

history of the settlement of New England, the lives of 
governors and famous divines, the history of Harvard 
College, "many illustrious wonderful providences," 
and finally " A Book of the Wars of the Lord." The 
book is a treasure-house of historical information, 
quaintly mingled with the errors, conceits, and pedan- 
tries of the author. From the pages of this " prose 
epic of New England Puritanism," as it has been 
called, Hawthorne drew his biography of Sir William 
Phipps, and Whittier the material for his " Garrison 
of Cape Anne." Its style is the ponderous, multitu- 
dinous, fantastic style of the last Elizabethans, Fuller, 
Burton, and Sir Thomas Browne ; the pages are heavily 
decorated with quotations from the dead languages, 
strained antitheses, and absurd puns, all duly italicized 
lest the reader should miss the point ; the thought often 
is quite lost in the confusion of a pedantic display of 
inapposite learning. Yet the "Magnalia" has merits, 
thinks Professor Wendell, that should place it " among 
the great works of English literature in the seventeenth 
century." ^ An illustrative passage will be worth 
more than description or criticism. The following 
is from the beginning of Chapter I of the second part 
of the History of Harvard College : — 

1 " Life of Cotton Mather," by Barrett Wendell, p. 161. 



42 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 



Fides in Vita ; or, the Life or Mr. John Brock 

Olim fides erat in vitd,, magis quam in articulorum professione. 

— Erasm. Epist. 

§ 1, Designing to write the lives of some learned men, who 
have been the issue and the lionour of Harvard-Colledge, let 
my reader be rather admonished than scandalized by it, if 
the first of these lives exhibit one whose goodness was above 
his learning^ and whose chief learning was his goodness. If 
one had asked Mr. John Brock that question in Antoninus, 
tIs a^ Tj T^xvv- " Of what art hast thou proceeded master?" 
he might have truly answered, 'Ayadop ilvat: "My art is to 
be good." He was a good grammarian, chiefly in this, that he 
" still spoke the truth from his heart. " He was a good logician^ 
chiefly in this, that he "presented himself unto God with a 
reasonable service." He was a good arithmetician, chiefly in 
this, that he "so numbered his days as to apply his heart unto 
wisdom." He was a good astronomer^ chiefly in this, that his 
" conversation was in heaven." It was chiefly by being a good 
Christian that he proved himself a good artist. The eulogy 
which Gregory the Great bestow'd on Stephen the monk, erat 
hujus lingua rustica, sed docta vita; so much belong'd unto 
this good man, that so learned a life may well be judg'd worthy 
of being a icritten one. 

§ 3. He was admitted into Harvard-Colledge a.d. 1643, where 
he studied for several years, with an exemplary diligence ; being 
of the opinion, as Caleb said unto his men, "I bestow my 
daughter upon one of you, but he that will have her, must first 
win Kiriath-8epher ; i.e. a city of books"; thus, one is not 
worthy to have a church bestow'd upon him, until he hath 
sometime lain before Kiriath-Sepher, and staid at some univer- 
sity. After five years lying here (as loth to be one of the 
sacerdotes momentandi, or modo idiotoe^ max clerici, sometimes 
by the ancients complained of) he entered upon the work of 
the evangelical ministry ; first at Rowly, and then at the Isle 
of Sholes. Here Scaliger might have indeed found " wisdom 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 43 

inhabiting the rocks," and here a spiritual Jisherman did more 
than a little good among the rude company of literal ones. 

The "Magnalia" was published in 1702, and it 
marks the close of a great period of English prose. 
Even Mather's friends recognized the antiquated 
character of his style, and his son condemned his 
" straining for far-fetched and dear-bought hints." 
The models upon which the "Magnalia" ^ New Era 
was wrought were already worn out in of English 
England. The stately, brocaded style of 
Milton and Browne, as well as the fantastic prose of 
Burton's " Anatomy of Melancholy," had disappeared. 
Out of the easy, crisp, and elegant prose of the Res- 
toration comedy, Dryden, Steele, and Addison created 
a new medium of literary expression, the simple, 
direct style of the modern prose essay. 

JONATHAN EDWARDS 
1703-1758 

In the year after the publication of the " Magnalia," 
Jonathan Edwards was born, the most profound 
thinker produced by New England theology. The 
contrast between Mather and Edwards is that between 
the seventeenth and the eighteenth century, between 
Milton and Locke. Through Edwards theology ad- 
vanced to philosophy, and sermonizing to an apprecia- 
tion and exemplification of literary style. 

Edwards was a graduate of Yale College, a preacher 



44 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

at Northampton for twenty-three years, a missionary 
to the Indians at Stockbridge seven years, and a few 
weeks before his death was made president of Prince- 
ton College. He was a marvel of youthful prococity, 
easily outstripping his teachers in the apprehension 
Precocious ^f new truths in science and philosophy. 
Intellect ^^ twelve he wrote a conclusive argument 
against the notion of a material soul ; at fourteen, 
when a sophomore in college, he read Locke's "Essay 
on the Human Understanding" with greater delight, 
he says, "than the most greedy miser finds when 
gathering up handfuls of silver and gold from some 
newly discovered treasure." Before his eighteenth 
year he had anticipated Berkeley's theory of idealism 
in such memoranda of metaphysical speculation as 
these: "The material universe exists only in the 
mind," "All material existence is only idea." In 
physical science, also, he made many remarkably pro- 
phetic suggestions ; for example, coming nearer than 
any one else to Franklin in his explanation of the 
phenomena of lightning. 

He was a man of gracious and tender spirit, sus- 
ceptible to the poetic influences of nature, a lover of 
sweetness and beauty and ideal holiness. "He was 
Personal ^ religious genius of the first order," says 

Qualities Whipple, "and one of the holiest souls 
that ever appeared on the planet." But he could 
not escape the influence of inherited beliefs, and while 
the natural tendency of his mind was toward a new 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 45 

era of science, art, and poetry, he held his thinking 
rigidly to the doctrines of his fathers, and preached 
the orthodox terrors of Calvinism with a power in 
proportion to his splendid intellect and his deep, soul- 
absorbing sincerity. His hearers, it is said, would 
writhe in agony under the burning logic of his ser- 
mons. A passage from the famous Enfield sermon, 
entitled " Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God," 
will show the vividness and directness of his 
method: — 

God is a great deal more angry with great numlaers that 
are now on earth ; yea, doubtless, with many that are now in 
this congregation, that, it may be, are at ease and quiet, than 
He is witli many of those that are now in the flames of hell. 
So that it is not because God is unmindful of their wickedness, 
and does not resent it, that He does not let loose His hand and 
cut them off. God is not altogether such an one as themselves, 
though they imagine him to be so. The wrath of God burns 
against them ; their damnation does not slumber ; the pit is 
prepared ; the fire is made ready ; the furnace is now hot ; 
ready to receive them ; the flames do now rage and glow. The 
glittering sword is whet and held over them, and the pit hath 
opened her mouth under them. The devil stands ready to fall 
upon them, and seize them as his own, at what moment God 
shall permit him. 

It is pleasant to compare with this soul-harrowing 
sermon his contemplations of the beauty of holiness, 
which represent the ideal and poetic side of his 
being : — 

Holiness, as I then wrote down some of my contemplations 
on it, appeared to me to be of a sweet, pleasant, charming, 



46 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

serene, calm nature ; which brought an inexpressible purity, 
brightness, peacefulness and ravishment to the soul. In other 
words, that it made the soul like a field or garden of God, with 
all manner of pleasant flowers ; enjoying a sweet calm, and the 
gently vivifying beams of the sun. The soul of a true Christian, 
as I then wrote my meditations, appeared like such a little white 
flower as we see in the spring of the year ; low and humble on 
the ground, opening its bosom to receive the pleasant beams of 
the sun's glory ; rejoicing, as it were in a calm rapture ; diffus- 
ing around a sweet fragrancy ; standing peacefully and lovingly, 
in the midst of other flowers round about ; all in like manner 
opening their bosoms, to drink in the light of the sun. 

The work that brought Edwards a world-wide fame, 
" The Inquiry into the Freedom of the Will," is the 
most important bulwark ever raised in defense of 
Calvinistic theology. Its purpose was to reconcile 
the dogmas of Calvin with the principles of sound 
"Freedom thought, its Central proposition being that 
of the Will" u^-j^Q ^y[\i ig not self-determined," as other- 
wise there could not be an all-ruling God. This work 
still stands as a marvelous monument of profound 
and subtle reasoning, but with the advancement of 
religious thinking it has lost its force as a final 
explanation of the relations existing between the 
mind of God and the mind of man. Its chief 
interest to the present age is that of a historic 
problem in metaphysics. In other of his writings, 
however, such as the "Treatise on the Religious 
Affections," Edwards appeals to the finer spirit of 
every age with a pure, gentle, radiant, and exalted 
sense of the nobler truths of life. "His thought," 



1] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 47 

says Professor Smyth, "is pervaded by a spiritual 
insight which has an original and undying worth. 
It is not unlikely that the future will assign him a 
higher rank than the past." ^ 

COLONIAL POETRY 

From the time that Sir Philip Sidney was con- 
strained to write his noble "Apologie for Poetrie," 
the Puritans had been hostile to poetry, identifying 
it with profligacy, and associating both with court 
and cavaliers. The drama was abhorred, ^rt and 
music was condemned, and the impressive Puritanism 
lessons of ecclesiasti(;al architecture were rejected; 
every form of art associated with the church which 
they had renounced was regarded as a part of the 
devil's devices for entangling their souls in worldli- 
ness. Even the splendid protest of Milton's work did 
not rescue music and poetry from this overwhelming 
prejudice. 

The isolation and the rigorous occupations of the 
New England Puritans naturally tended to widen 
this breach between art and life. Not only were the 
influences of art absent from their lives, but there is 
almost no evidence of an appreciation of natural 
beauty. The nature with which they came in con- 
tact was, as Governor Bradford expressed it, "but a 
hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts 

1 Egbert C. Smyth, " Library of the World's Best Literature." 



48 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

and wild men." The beauty and grandeur of a pri- 
meval world, and the romantic features of their own 
lives did not impress them; the poetic red men of 
Longfellow and Cooper had no existence for them. 
Keligion, with which their minds were absorbed, was 
made forbidding by its unlovely externals, and life 
itself was made unhappy by the perverted methods 
of making it holy. This renouncement of all aesthetic 
influences left an impress upon the character of New 
England that is even yet visible, like the barren 
stretches of rock that scar its green-robed mountain 
sides in summer. 

Song and fancy, however, cannot be wholly sup- 
pressed, even by the severest social conditions ; the 
love of rhythm is natural and inevitable. In spite of 
the prevailing austerity there was a deal of verse-- 
making among the sober colonists. Even the gravest 
„ .^ of them, like Governor Bradford and Gov- 

Puritan ^ 

Verse- ernor Dudley, occasionally revealed this 

^^ ^^^ human frailty. The great John Cotton 

stealthily wrote verses in his almanac, prudently 
using the Greek alphabet for better concealment. 
A sufficiently solemn occasion would excuse an open 
indulgence ; hence we find their ponderous writings 
adorned with epitaphs and elegies, and many a lichen- 
grown gravestone still testifies to their struggles to 
express some freak of fancy in punning rhymes. The 
" Magnalia " is a storehouse of these products of the 
" mortuary muse."' A poem by "J. S." upon the death 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 49 

of " that supereminent minister," Jonathan Mitchell, 
begins thus : — 

Here lies the darling of his tirae, 
Mitchell expired in his prime ; 
Who four years short of forty seven, 
Was found full ripe and plucked for heaven. 

and ends with the writer's pious regret that he has 
not the power to " weep an everlasting shower." 

This solemn trifling with the poet's art now only 
provokes laughter; but if it produced no poetry, it 
at least preserved the traditions of poetry. Unfor- 
tunately these reverend versifiers imitated the worst 
models in English literature, the quaint conceits of 
Donne, Quarles, Herbert, Vaughan, and others of the 
"fantastic" school of decadent Elizabethans, who 
mistook ingenuity for genius. Hardly a verse of all 
they wrote would now pass for poetry, but the heaven- 
born spark was kept alive until a more propitious 
period. A reaction in favor of art and the beautiful 
was inevitable, and it came with the unshackling of 
men's minds in the period of the Revolution. More- 
over, Puritanism itself possessed elements of poetry 
— in its sublime faith, lofty spiritual ideals, and im- 
aginative concej)tions of the future state — that were 
to be splendidly developed in the early years of the 
nineteenth century, when the soul of New England 
began to expand with the first full joys of enfran- 
chisement. 



50 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

The first English book published in America, if 
we except an almanac, was the "Bay Psalm Book," 
printed at Cambridge in 1640 in the house of Presi- 
dent Dunster. This literary curiosity, copies of which 
"Bay Psalm ^^^^ I'^i'^ and costly, is probably the most 

Book" remarkable perversion of the poetic prin- 
ciple extant in the language. The "chief divines in 
the country," according to Mather, united in the effort 
to put the original Hebrew psalms into an English 
form that should be poetical, yet not too poetical to 
be used in the churches without scandal. A specimen 
of their work (from the fifty-first psalm) will illus- 
trate the success of this attempt at compounding 
between art and conscience : — 

Create in mee cleane heart at last 

God : a right spirit in me new make. 
Nor from thy presence quite me cast, 

tliy holy spright not from me take. 
Mee thy salvations joy restore, 

and stay me with thy spirit free. 
I will transgressors teacli thy lore, 

and sinners shall be turned to thee. 

For more than a century these contorted verses 
were sung in the churches by the method of " deacon- 
ing " or " lining," each line being read separately by 
the deacon and then repeated by the congregation; 
they were even used by the Dissenters in England 
and Scotland. The chief perpetrators of this pious 
atrocity were John Eliot, the Indian apostle, Thomas 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 51 

Wilde, and Richard Mather, all university men, 
acquainted with real poetry, and themselves writers 
of good prose; it is not surprising therefore to hear 
them say apologetically in their preface: "If the verses 
are not alwayes so smooth and elegant as some may 
desire or expect; let them consider that Gods altar 
needs not our pollishings: Ex. 20, for we have re- 
spected rather a plaine translation, then to smooth 
our verses with the sweetnes of any paraphrase, and 
soe have attended Conscience rather then Elegance, 
fidelity rather then poetry." 

Our first professed, if not professional, poet was 
Mistress Anne Bradstreet, daughter of Governor Dud- 
ley and wife of Governor Bradstreet. She was born 
and educated in England, under influences favorable 
for the growth of a literary taste. At sixteen she was 
married, and two years later went to her 
new home in the Massachusetts wilder- Bradstreet, 
ness. The '^Bradstreet Farm" is still '^'^''^'^^ 
pointed out near Andover. Her " heart rose " at first, 
she says, against this change from an atmosphere of 
wealth and refinement to a harsh pioneer life among 
militant saints, Indians, and wolves ; but she accepted 
her exile as God's will, and lightened the burdens 
of a long life with the consolations of literature. The 
determination with which she cultivated her slender 
poetic gifts, under conditions of continuous hardship 
and ill-health, with the care of her "eight birds hatcht 
in one nest," compels admiration and restrains criti- 



52 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

cism. Another form of discouragement she had to 
face, also, for she writes : — 

I am obnoxious to each carping tongue, 
Who says my hand a needle better fits. 

Her poems were published in London in 1650, under 
a high-sounding title for which she was not responsi- 
ble : " The Tenth Muse lately sprung up in America ; 
"The Tenth oi'j Grcneral Poems, compiled with a great 
Muse" variety of wit and learning, full of de- 

light," etc. The extravagance of the title-page was 
even surpassed by the praises with which her poems 
were hailed at home. Cotton Mather pronounced 
them to be "a monument to her memory beyond 
the stateliest marbles." President Kogers of Harvard 
found himself while reading her verses "sunk in a 
sea of bliss" and "weltering in delight." The Kev. 
John Norton declared in a "Dirge for the Tenth 
Muse " that were Virgil to hear 

her lively strain 
He would condemn his works to fire again. 

Notwithstanding the questionable propriety of her 
performance, as an evidence of the intellectual possi- 
bilities of the New World, the colonists were proud of 
their singer whose voice had sounded to far-away Eng- 
land. Besides, her muse was decorously serious, and 
offered her readers much useful knowledge. Her 
principal poems, " The Four Elements," " The Four 
Seasons," and "The Four Monarchies," a rhymed 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 53 

condensation of Raleigh's "History of the World," 
are ponderous, mechanical, and dull. Generally the 
art is crude and the tone didactic and melancholy, 
but in the short poem, "Contemplations," there are 
touches of a genuine and delicate feeling for natural 
beauty that prove her right to the name of poet. 
Here is the beginning of American nature poetry 
in the love of this Puritan wife for the "pathless 
paths" among the "trees all richly clad" in the 
golden tints of the " autumnal tide." 

Under the cooling shadow of a stately Elm, 

Close sate I by a goodly Rivers side, 
Where gliding streams the Rocks did overwhelm ; 

A lonely place with pleasures dignifi'd. 
I once that lov'd the shady woods so well, 
Now thought the rivers did the trees excel. 
And if the sun would ever shine there would I dwell. 

***** 
While musing thus with contemplation fed, 

And thousand fancies buzzing in my brain. 
The sweet tongu'd Philomel percht ore my head, 

And chanted forth a most melodious strain, 
Which rapt me so with wonder and delight, 
I judg'd my hearing better then my sight, 
And wisht me wings with her awhile to take my flight. 

In such verses there is evidence of what Mistress 
Bradstreet might have been with a more favorable 
environment. Quite as strong evidence, perhaps, of 
her inherent poetic qualities is found in the fact that 
among her lineal descendants were Oliver Wendell 
Holmes, Richard H. Dana, Wendell Phillips, the 



54 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Channings, and other literary leaders of New Eng- 
land. 

One other verse-maker of this period has a unique 
celebrity, Michael Wigglesworth, whose "Day of 
Doom; or, A poetical description of the great and 
last Judgment," was for more than a hundred years 
Michael Wig- " *^^® ^^^ supreme poem of Puritan New 
giesworth, England." Wigglesworth was a clergy- 
I 31-1715 msLii, " a little, feeble shadow of a man,'' 
according to Mather, with a soul burning with reli- 
gious zeal. He was a prolific rhymer, using generally 
a simple, sing-song ballad measure that readily caught 
the popular ear. His masterpiece, published in 1662, 
is a veritable " Epic of Hades," giving a realistic and 
vigorous presentation of the doctrines of Calvinism 
carried to their full logical results in the next world. 
The poem opens with a description of the heedless 
"Day of world given over to sensual delight; sud- 
Doom" denly the last trump sounds, the graves 

are opened, and the living and the dead are sum- 
moned before Christ, the awful Judge. 

His winged Hosts flie through all Coasts, 

together gethering 
Both good and bad, both quick and dead, 

and all to Judgment bring. 

The wicked try in vain to hide "in Caves and 
Delves"; the "blind Heathen" plead ignorance of 
their " degenerate estate," having had only " Nature's 
Light" to guide them; and the children who died in 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 55 

infancy plead the injustice of being punished for 
"Adam's guilt": — 

Not we, but he ate of the Tree, 

whose fruit was interdicted : 
Yet on us all of his sad Fall, 

the punishment's inflicted. 

The terrible doom is pronounced, and all are driven 
away to the " Brimstone Flood " : — 

As chaff that's dry, and dust doth fly 

before the Northern wind : 
Right so are they chased away, 

and can no Refuge find. 
They hasten to the Pit of Woe, 

guarded by Angels stout ; 
Who to fulfil Christ's holy will, 

attend their wicked Rout. 

Meanwhile the elect are transported rejoicing to the 
" blessed state of the Eenate " : — 

The Saints behold with courage bold, 

and thankful wonderment. 
To see all those that were their foes 

thus sent to punishment . . . 
Thus with great joy and melody 

to Heav'n they all ascend, 
Him there to praise with sweetest layes 

and Hymns that never end. 

Before the Revolution this poem, which one now 
can hardly read without a shudder, was universally 
committed to memory as a precious embodiment of 



56 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the most vital truths pertaining to the human soul. 
Children were required to repeat it with the cate- 
chism. Its circulation, in proportion to population, 
was greater than that of the most popular novel of 
to-day. " It was the solace," says Lowell, '^ of every 
fireside, the flicker of the pine-knots by which it was 
conned perhaps adding a livelier relish to its pre- 
monitions of eternal combustion." 

While Wiggles worth was writing the "Day of Doom," 
Milton was writing " Paradise Lost," two extremes that pre- 
sent a striking antithesis of Calvinism in its meanness and in 
its magnificence. Four years before Wigglesworth's death 
Pope's " Essay on Criticism" and Addison's " Spectator" ap- 
peared. While Anne Bradstreet was toiling with her " Eour 

Monarchies," Herrick, Waller, Lovelace, and 
Contemporary other Cavalier poets were writing their charm- 
Literature ^^^ lyrics, and Isaac Walton was meditating his 

"Complete Angler." Jeremy Taylor's "Holy 
Living" appeared the same year with the "Tenth Muse." 
But these influences did not touch New England. Nearly 
everything in English literature from the death of Shakspere, in 
1616, to the death of Dryden, in 1700, was under the ban of 
Puritan prejudice. The strongest poetic influence was that of 
Sylvester's translation of the " Divine Weeks and Works" 
of the Huguenot Du Bartas, Anne Bradstreet's " great, dear, 
sweet Bartas." Slowly during the first half of the eighteenth 
century the influence of Dryden and Pope was working with 
liberal minds, especially outside New England. In 1747 
William Livingston, of New Jersey, published " Philosophic 
Solitude," a poem in close imitation of the manner and spirit 
of Pope, In 1765 the poems of Thomas Godfrey appeared in 
Philadelphia, among them being "The Prince of Parthia," a 
tragedy in blank verse, which Tyler regards as a "noble be- 
ginning of dramatic literature in America." 



I] THE COLONIAL PERIOD 57 



HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

Palfrey's "Compendious History of New England," Vol. I, 
Bk. I, chaps. 5-13; Bk. II, chaps. 1, 2. Bancroft's "History 
of the United States," Vol. I, chaps. 6, 7, 12, 15, 16, 19. 
Lodge's "History of the English Colonies in America," 
chap. 22. Eggleston's " The Beginners of a Nation " and " The 
Transit of Civilization." Doyle's "The English in America." 
Fiske's "Beginnings of New England"; "Old Virginia and 
her Neighbors" ; "The Dutch and Quaker Colonies." Camp- 
bell's "The Puritan in Holland, England, and America," 
Vol. II, chaps. 22, 23. Byington's "The Puritan in England 
and New England." Tyler's "History of American Litera- 
ture during Colonial Times." Thwaites's "The Colonies" 
(Epochs of American History). Fisher's "Colonial Era." 
Drake's "The Making of Virginia and the Middle Colo- 
nies"; "The Making of New England." Cooke's "Vir- 
ginia." Parkman's "Conspiracy of Pontiac," chaps. 4, 5. 
Warner's "Captain John Smith." Wendell's "Cotton 
Mather." Marvin's "The Life and Times of Cotton Mather." 
Higginson's "Francis Higginson." Twitchell's "John Win- 
throp" (Makers of America). Mrs. Campbell's "Anne Brad- 
street and her Times." Chamberlain's "Samuel Sewall and 
the World he lived In." Allen's "Jonathan Edwards" (Ameri- 
can Religious Leaders). Mrs. Earle's " The Sabbath in Puritan 
New England " ; "Home Life in Colonial Days " ; " Child Life 
in Colonial Days"; "Life of Margaret Winthrop." Robert 
C. Winthrop' s " Life and Letters of John Winthrop." Fisher's 
"Men, Women, and Manners in Colonial Times." Everett's 
"Orations and Speeches," Vols. I, II, III. Holmes's "Pages 
from an Old Volume of Life" (Jonathan Edwards). Leslie 
Stephen's "Hours in a Library," 2d series (Edwards). Richard- 
son's "American Literature," Vol. I, pp. 10-35. 

Contemporary Writings. — Hart's "American History told 
by Contemporaries," Vols. I, II. Arber's "The Story of the 
Pilgrim Fathers, as told by themselves, their Friends and their 



58 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap, i] 

Enemies." Stedman and Hutchinson's " Library of American 
Literature." Trent and Wells's " Colonial Prose and Poetry." 
Old South Leaflets, 21, 22, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 55, 66, 67, 
77, 87. Captain John Smith's " Settlement of Virginia," and 
Governor Bradford's "History of Plymouth Plantation" (May- 
nard's Historical Classic Readings). " Some Old Puritan Love 
Letters " (John and Margaret Winthrop). 

Illustrative Literature. — Longfellow's " Courtship of Miles 
Standish" ; "The Phantom Ship"; "New England Trage- 
dies," Whittier's "John Underhill " ; " Prophecy of Samuel 
Sewall" ; "Cassandra Southwick"; "The Witch's Daugh- 
ter"; "The Double-headed Snake of Newbury." Holmes's 
"The Pilgrim's Vision"; "On Lending a Punch-bowl"; 
"Song for the Centennial Celebration of Harvard College." 
Hawthorne's " Grandfather's Chair " ; " The Scarlet Letter" ; 
"The Maypole of Merry Mount"; " Endicott and the Red 
Cross." Lowell's "New England Two Centuries Ago." 
Emerson's " Historical Discourse," at Concord. Mrs. Stowe's 
"Mayflower." Mrs. Austin's "Standish of Standish"; 
"Betty Alden." O'Reilly's "The Pilgrim Fathers." Lucy 
Larcom's "Lady Arabella" ; "Mistress Hale of Beverly." 
Cooke's " My Lady Pocahontas." Stimson's " King Noanett." 
Miss Sedgwick's "Hope Leslie." Mrs. Child's "Hobomok." 
Margaret J. Preston's " Colonial Ballads." Bynner's " Agnes 
Surriage " ; " The Begum's Daughter" ; " Penelope's Suitors." 
Irving's " Knickerbocker's History of New York." Mary 
Johnston's " To Have and to Hold." Mrs. Goodwin's " White 
Aprons " ; " The Head of a Hundred " ; " The Colonial Cava- 
lier." Cogswell's " Regicides." 



CHAPTER II 

PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 

The opening years of the Revolutionary period 
were years of intellectual ferment and political reac- 
tion. Men were beginning to think for themselves 
and along new lines ; they were breaking away from 
the old theological domination ; politics and religion 
were being dissociated, theocracy was giving way to 
democracy. Material prosperity rendered men more 
ambitious for position and power in this world, and 
less solicitous about their place in the next Era of 
world ; everywhere, especially in the mid- ^^^ ^^®^^ 
die and southern colonies, men of wealth and educa- 
tion were increasing in number, and were living a life 
as liberal as that of the manorial halls of England. 
New ideals of society and government were stirring 
men's minds ; the idea of nationality was spreading 
among the reading and thinking colonists ; the " em- 
pires in their brains" began to take shape, vaguely 
but alluringly. Edmund Burke, in his great speech 
on " Conciliation," called the attention of the English 
people to the significant fact that the colonists were 
sharpening their faculties by legal study : " In no 

59 



60 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

country, perhaps, in the world, is the law so general a 
study." 

The Eevolution was the result not so much of op- 
pression as of a new conception of liberty. The 
Stamp Act would have caused no real distress, but it 
was odious mainly as an obstacle to the progress of 
ideas. A new notion of independence was formed, 
first for the individual, then for the colony, and then 
for the country. Loyalty to England suddenly changed 
Birth f *^ ^^^^ ^^^ America. American patriotism 

American- was born, and nursed to an extraordinary 
growth. But this spring-flood of radical- 
ism was not understood in the old country, neither 
were all of the colonists swept into its current. 
America was not only in conflict with England, but 
also with herself. It has been a common mistake 
to assume that the Tories were merely an obstinate 
minority, bound to the king by selfish interests. It 
is probable that they were nearly, if not quite, as 
numerous as the Patriots, and it is certain that their 
party contained "a very considerable portion of the 
most refined, thoughtful, and conscientious people in 
the colonies." ^ This fact naturally intensified the 
excitement and bitterness of the conflict. The Loy- 
alists were not without patriotism, but they argued 
for a policy of conciliation and peace, and against the 

1 Tyler's " Literary History of the American Revolution," Vol. 
I, p. 303. See also Lecky's " England in the Eighteenth Century," 
Vol. Ill, p. 479. 



ii] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 61 

dangerous and destructive policy of war and separa- 
tion. 

Thus for many years before a gun was fired, the 
Eevohitionary struggle was a war of political debate, 
and out of the discipline of this conflict of hot w^ords 
arose those splendidly equipped intellects that aston- 
ished all Europe with novel and profound theories for 
the reconstruction of human society and government. 
" Without boasting," says Daniel Webster, " we may 
say that in no age or country has the public cause 
been maintained with more force of argument, more 
power of illustration, or more of that persuasion 
which excited feeling and elevated principle can alone 
bestow, than the Revolutionary state papers exhibit." 

The aroused intellectual forces of this exciting 
period found, as we should expect, abundant expres- 
sion in literature. But this literature was limited in 
subject to the one absorbing theme, independence, and 
in variety to the simplest and most effective popular 
forms, the political essay, oratory, and patriotic poetry. 
In style it was imitative of familiar English models 
of the Augustan Age. Oratory was affected by the 
speeches of Burke, Fox, and Sheridan. Prose gener- 
ally followed the formal, rhetorical, and " classical " 
style of Johnson, rather than the simpler, 
more flexible, and more graceful style of copies Eng- 
Addison. Poetry throughout the period 
remained helplessly under the yoke of Pope's rhymed 
couplet. Strictly speaking, America produced nothing 



62 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

distinctly American in literature until after the Revo- 
lution. Literary servitude to England was acknowl- 
edged by the very instruments with which the colonists 
were winning their political freedom. 

The political essays were given to the public through 
the newspapers, or as separate tracts or pamphlets, 
which were sold upon the street. Pamphleteering 
was the journalism of the eighteenth century, both in 
England and in America. There were few newspa- 
Poiiticai P^i^'s — oi^ly forty-three in all the colonies 

Essays ^t the end of the Revolution — and these 

were crude, inadequate sheets, edited by the printer 
who selected his matter mainly from the voluntary 
effusions of " Vindex," '^ Publius," " Novanglus," 
" Candidus," and other pseudonymous contributors. 
A vast amount of this controversial prose was pub- 
lished, much of it able and effective, but the occasion 
alone gave it vitality, and its present interest is chiefly 
historical. 

The most natural expression of freedom is the elo- 
quence of the forum. Democracy cannot exist with- 
out debate and speech-making. But the art of the 
orator, like that of the actor, is perishable, and his 
fame rests largely upon tradition. Probably no great 
Political speech was ever repeated with its original 

Oratory forcc, and only an occasional masterpiece 

seems to justify its traditional reputation when read 
calmly and critically in the study. The occasion and 
the man add qualities to the words that cannot be 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 63 

preserved by printing. Moreover, few great speeches, 
like the orations of Webster and Burke, possess in 
combination with wise and weighty thought the 
strong qualities of style necessary to preserve them 
permanently as literature. The Revolutionary period 
was preeminently an oratorical period, but we know 
little of its oratory except through tradition and by 
the effects that it produced. Yet the fragments of 
the great speeches that have survived are sufficient to 
explain the whirlwind of passionate patriotism by 
which men were swept into desperate rebellion. 

The chief instigators to revolt were James Otis, 
Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Joseph Warren, and 
Josiah Quincy, in Massachusetts, and ^ ^ 

^ -J^ ' Orators 

Richard Henry Lee and Patrick Henry of the 
in Virginia. The argument of Otis, in ^^^^i^^^o^ 
1760, against the odious "Writs of Assistance'' is 
believed to have been one of the greatest speeches of 
modern times. Notes of the speech were made by 
John Adams, who wrote in his diary with fervid ad- 
miration : " Otis was a flame of fire. With a prompt- 
itude of classical allusions, a depth of research, a 
rapid summary of historical events and dates, a pro- 
fusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glance of his 
eye into futurity, and a torrent of impetuous elo- 
quence, he hurried away everything before him. 
American independence was then and there born." 
It was the wealthy and aristocratic Hancock who 
said, when discussing means for dislodging the British 



64 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

troops, " Burn Boston, and make John Hancock a beg- 
gar, if the public good requires it." And it was he 
James Otis, ^^^^ appended that first bold signature 

1725-1783 to the Declaration of Independence, writ- 
John Hancock, 

1737-1793 ten " large enough for George the Third 

josiahQuincy, ^^ ^.^^^ without spectacles." It was the 

1744-1775 _ ^ 

Joseph Warren, young and brilliant Quincy who said: 

1741-1775 u j£ ^Q appear for my country is treason, 
and to arm for her defense is rebellion, — like my 
fathers, I will glory in the name of rebel and traitor, 
as they did in that of Puritan and enthusiast." It 
was Warren, the first eminent martyr to the noble 
enthusiasm, who exclaimed, ''These fellows say we 
won't fight ; by Heavens ! I hope I shall die up to my 
knees in blood." 

The "chief incendiary" was Samuel Adams, the 
father of the town meeting, the ideal representative 
and leader of American democracy. By his volumi- 
nous writings for the public press, by his innumerable 
state papers, remarkable for their clearness and force, 
Samuel Adams, by his persuasive oratory, and by his de- 

1722-1803 yjgg Qf a Committees of Correspondence," 
he became the arch instigator and organizer of the 
Kevolution. " A man who hungered and thirsted for 
the independence of his country," says Webster. " A 
man whom Plutarch, if he had only lived late enough, 
would have delighted to include in his gallery of wor- 
thies," says Fiske. He was powerful as a speaker, 
but more powerful as a writer and as a manager of 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 65 

men. "Every dip of his pen," said a political adver- 
sary, " stings like a horned snake." " Such a master 
of the methods by which a town meeting may be 
swayed," declares his biographer, "the world has 
never seen." 

Of the southern patriots, Richard Henry Lee, the 
" American Cicero," left little by which we can meas- 
ure his impressive oratory. With Patrick Henry, the 
firebrand of Virginia, we are more fortunate, for 
some of his speeches, written down from memory by 
those who heard them, were preserved by Wirt, his 
earliest biographer, probably with a fair degree of 
accuracy. The clear ring of his impetuous and auda- 
cious eloquence, familiar as it has become in hack- 
neyed school selections, still stirs the Patrick Henry, 

heart of every young American. His 1736-1799 
opening speech in the first Continental Congress, in 
which occurred the flaming declaration, " I am not a 
Virginian, but an American," gave him the reputation 
of being "the foremost orator on the continent." 
Said Jefferson, "He appeared to me to speak as 
Homer wrote." The address before the Virginia Con- 
vention in 1775 is unquestionably more familiar to 
Americans than any other piece of prose in the lan- 
guage outside the Bible. It is natural eloquence. 
Throughout, the sharp, rushing, tumultuous sentences 
fall upon the ear like the clashing of steel and the 
hissing of hot bullets in the air, and the closing cli- 
max is a whirlwind of passionate and irresistible ap- 




66 AMERICAN LITERATUEE [chap; 

peal : " Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be 
purchased at the price of chains and slavery ? For- 
bid it, Almighty God ! I know not what course 
others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or 
give me death." 

The most effective pamphleteer of the period was 
Thomas Paine, an erratic, impecunious Englishman, 
who came to Philadelphia in 1774, bearing a let- 
ter from Eranklin, commending him as 
Thomas ' 

Paine, -'an ingenious, worthy young man." He 

1737-1809 plunged, heart and soul, into the Patriot 
cause, and rendered inestimable service with his sim- 
ple, direct, and forcible writing, clearing away with 
each stroke the obstacles to liberty. The powerful 
pamphlet, " Common Sense," appeared in 1776, and 
within three months one hundred and twenty thou- 
sand copies were sold; half a million copies, it is 
estimated, were circulated in this country and abroad. 
This was followed by the "Crisis," beginning with 
he electrical words, "These are the times that try 
's souls," which did much to sustain the sinking 
hearts during the most critical part of the war. It 
was read to the army at Valley Forge by order of 
Washington. As a writer, Paine was clear and 
breez}^, making an effective use of epigram and apt 
illustration. Attracted to France by the struggle for 
liberty there in progress, he wrote the "Rights of 
Man," in answer to Burke's "Reflections upon the 
French Revolution." The fame of his political writ- 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 67 

ings has been overshadowed by that of his crude, 
deistical argument against Christianity, " The Age of 
Eeason," a worthless book, except as illustrating the 
tendencies of eighteenth-century thought, to which, 
however, an exaggerated importance was long attrib- 
uted. The skeptical philosophy of Hume and Vol- 
taire formed a natural alliance with the impetuous 
spirit of democracy in its first unrestrained pursuit of 
new ideals of liberty. 

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 

1706-1790 

The most widely representative character of the 
Revolutionary period is Benjamin Franklin, whose 
life work may be regarded as an epitome of Ameri- 
canism throughout its progress from colonialism to 
nationality. Among the master builders of the nation, 
next to the "father of his country," stands Franklin. 
What Washington did in the field, Franklin did j 
council halls and at the courts of kings, and wit 
the services of either it is probable that the strug- 
gle for independence could not have been „, ^. , 
° ^ Washington 

carried to success. While alike in their and 
patriotic purposes, these two grand Ameri- 
cans differed widely in their ideals of life. Wash- 
ington stood for political and social principles that 
savored of the Old World aristocracy ; Franklin 
stood for the new-born American democracy — the 




68 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



toiling, thrifty, freedom-loving, indigenous people — 
and to this people still the august figure of the one, in 
powdered wig and ruffles, is an object of reverence, 
while the homely, companionable figure of the other, 
with frizzled fur cap and spectacles, is an object of af- 

fection. The 
career of Frank- 
lin, moreover, was 
more varied and 
extended than 
that of Washing- 
ton. He was the 
connecting link 
between two eras ; 
his childhood was 
spent in New 
England under 
the stern influ- 
ences of Cotton 
Mather's reign, 
and he lived to 
see the new re- 
public established and to congratulate Washington 
upon assuming the office of President. 

The story of Franklin's illustrious career as printer, 
journalist, author, inventor, philosopher, statesman, 
and diplomatist, is told in the inimitable "Auto- 
biography," which every American reads who is not 
cheated of his just inheritance in youth. He was 




Benjamin Franklin 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 69 

born in Boston in 1706, the son of a soap-boiler and 
tallow-chandler. His education was obtained mainly 
from such books as came to him by chance. " From 
a child," he says, " I was fond of reading, and all the 
little money that came into my hands was ever laid 
out in books." And he would often sit up "the 
greatest part of the night " to read a bor- 
rowed book. Among his father's books Franklin's 
of polemical divinity he found Plutarch's ^^ ® 
" Lives," which he " read abundantly," he says, and 
Cotton Mather's "Essays to do Good," which "per- 
haps gave me a turn of thinking that had an influence 
on some of the principal future events of my life." 

There was then not a public library in the colonies. 
Of five hundred and fifty books published during the 
first twelve years of Franklin's life, all but eighty-four 
were on religious topics, and of the eighty-four, forty- 
nine were almanacs. A copy of Shakspere had not 
been seen in Boston. But Franklin fell upon "an odd 
volume" of Addison's "Spectator," and from a careful 
study of this he obtained a rhetorical training that 
helped to make him the best writer of the age in 
America. 

Franklin was apprenticed to his brother as a printer, 
but, when seventeen years old, ran away to Philadel- 
phia. He reached the city, dirty and hungry, with 
only a "Dutch dollar and about a shilling in copper" 
with which to begin business. With pockets " stuffed 
out with shirts and stockings," and with "three great 



70 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

puffy rolls" of bread, "a roll under each arm, and 
eating the other," he walked up Market Street for the 
first time, and passed the house of his future wife, 
who, seeing him, "thought I made," he says, "as I 
certainly did, a most awkward, ridiculous appearance." 
How he rose from " such unlikely beginnings " to be 
the first citizen of Philadelphia and the most con- 
spicuous personage in all the colonies, must be learned 
directly from the " Autobiography," for any condensa- 
tion of that charming narrative would seriously injure 
its delicious flavor for the reader. A brief enumera- 
tion of his achievements is enough to show the many- 
sidedness of his character and the broad field of his 
usefulness. 

He established a printing business from which he 
made a fortune, and published the first American 
magazine. The General Magazine and Historical Chron- 
icle; organized the city fire and street-cleaning depart- 
ments, and invented the stove that still bears his 

name ; founded the Public Library of Phil- 
Practical ' "^ 

Achieve- adelphia, "the mother of all the North 

ments American subscription libraries," the Uni- 

versity of Pennsylvania, and the American Philosophi- 
cal Society ; and when serving as postmaster general, 
he established the national post-office system. In 
1754 he proposed the "Albany plan" for the union 
of the colonies, thus anticipating by thirty -three years 
the work of the Constitutional Convention. His con- 
tributions to science gave him a world-wide fame. 



ii] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 71 

By the famous kite experiment he established the 
identity of lightning and electricity, and, with charac- 
teristic turn for the practical, devised the lightning 
rod. The reports of his investigations were published 
abroad, and the Royal Society of England voted him 
a medal, the king of France ordered his experiments 
repeated in the royal presence, and the German phi- 
losopher, Kant, hailed him as "the Prometheus of 
modern days." 

Although, next to Washington, the chief actor in 
the Revolution, it is a singular fact that Franklin was 
absent from America during nearly the whole period. 
In 1757 he was sent to England in behalf of Pennsyl- 
vania, and again in 1764 to oppose the Stamp Act. 
For ten years he labored faithfully to avert Diplomatic 
the calamity of war, and returned just after ^^^^^^ 
the battle of Lexington, in time to attend the Conti- 
nental Congress and sign the Declaration of Independ- 
ence. Once more he was sent abroad — now seventy 
years old — to obtain aid from France, and he performed 
the task with a success that saved the American cause. 
In France he was received with extravagant delight. 
People gathered in the streets to see the American 
Solon pass ; statesmen, philosophers, and men of 
fashion vied with each other in entertaining him ; his 
face appeared in every print shop and on bracelets, 
finger rings, and snuffboxes ; poets praised him with 
sonnets, and court ladies placed Franklin stoves in 
their chambers and Franklin portraits on their man- 



72 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

tels. For a medal struck in his honor the great Tur- 
got composed the imperishable epigram : — 

Eripuit coelo fulmen, sceptrumque tyrannis. 

The jealous John Adams wrote that his fame seemed 
"more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, 
Frederic or Voltaire." When he had conducted the 
peace negotiations with England to a happy end, 
Jefferson was sent to give him the long-desired relief 
from official duties. On being asked if he had re- 
placed Dr. Franklin, the great Virginian replied, "I 
succeed ; no one can ever replace him." 

In 1785 Franklin returned to his "dear Philadel- 
phia," and was compelled by his admiring countrymen 
to serve them still further as president of Pennsyl- 
vania, and as one of the framers of the new Constitu- 
tion. With the signing of this document his public 
work was done. He was now very old, and the pains 
of age and disease were heavy upon him. " I seem," 

he said, " to have intruded myself into the 
fn ow Age company of posterity, when I ought to 

have been abed and asleep." But his natu- 
ral cheerfulness never failed him. To a friend he 
wrote : " When I consider how many more terrible 
maladies the human body is liable to, I think myself 
well off that I have only three incurable ones: the 
gout, the stone, and old age ; and, these notwithstand- 
ing, I enjoy many comfortable intervals, in which I 
forget all my ills, and amuse myself in reading or 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 73 

writing, or in conversation with friends, joking, 
laughing, and telling merry stories, as when you first 
knew me, a young man about fifty." He died April 
17, 1790, and twenty thousand people witnessed his 
burial. 

Properly speaking, Franklin was not a literary 
man ; he cultivated the art of expression, not for its 
own sake, but for its immediate usefulness in the 
common affairs of life. He wrote extensively, upon 
science, politics, economics, and morals, and with such 
directness of thought and clearness of expression that 
the practical end in view was generally reached. 
Even his most playful essays usually conceal, like a 
well-baited hook, some pointed bit of wisdom with 
which to catch the reader's mind. Of his Literary 
varied productions those that belong dis- works 
tinctively to literature are the "Busybody" papers, 
humorously didactic essays written in his early years 
in the manner of Addison; the light and graceful 
"Bagatelles," written in old age, among which are 
some of his best known pieces of mingled wit and 
wisdom, such as "The Whistle" and "Dialogue be- 
tween Franklin and the Gout " ; the delightful Famil- 
iar Letters ; and finally, the two works upon which 
his immortality as a writer rests, "Poor Richard's 
Almanac " and the " Autobiography." 

The " Almanac " had long been popular in the colo- 
nies when Poor Eichard appeared in 1733. It was the 
people's " general intelligencer/' a familiar companion 



74 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap, ii 

in every household. It penetrated the remotest wil- 
derness, carrying to the isolated pioneer scraps of 
poetry and philosophy from the great writers of all 
times, mixed with absurd weather predictions and 
other laughter-provoking whimseys. Perceiving the 
possibilities of this plebeian form of literature as a 
means of diffusing wise instruction, Franklin made 
himself through it a kind of universal schoolmaster. 
Like the great characters of fiction, Richard Saunders 
became a living personage among men, and his pro- 
verbial wisdom has become embedded in the moral 
nature of the American people. His teach- 

"Poor ^ r r 

Richard's ing all tends to practical thrift, showing 
how to be "healthy, wealthy, and wise." 
" One to-day is worth two to-morrows," " A small leak 
will sink a great ship," " Plow deep while sluggards 
sleep," " An empty sack cannot stand upright," " God 
helps them that help themselves," " Handle your tools 
without mittens," " Three removes are as bad as a 
fire." Such are the homely saws of Poor Richard, 
some original and more of them borrowed, but all 
made pithy and pointed by Franklin's literary skill 
and keen insight into human nature. For nearly a 
quarter of a century ten thousand copies a year were 
sold. In the last issue the best of the proverbs were 
gathered into a connected discourse called "Father 
Abraham's Speech," which, says McMaster, "is the 
most famous piece of literature the colonies produced." 
This may be read in French, German, Spanish, Italian, 



PooY Richard, 1753 . 

A N 

Almanack 

Foi the Year ofChrift 
Being the Firfl after I EAP YEAR: 

Years 



7241 
6932 

5742 
5682 

5494 



j4nd mahs fnrt the Creation 
B^the Account of rhe E ftfn Grf»h$ 
"Sli^ the Latin Church, when O cnr Y 
By the Computation of IV IV 
By the Roman Chronology 
%^ the Jew'tp Rabbiei 

iVherein is contatfied 
The Lunations, Ecripfcs, judgment of 
the Weather, Spring Tides, Planef« Moi^ionsfic 
xnurual Afpefts, Sun and Moon 5 RiHng and Sti^ 
ting. Length of Days. Time of High W^ier. 
Fairs, Gmrrs, an^ obfervable Day* 
Fitted to the Larifudcol Forty Degrees 
and a Meridian of Five Hoar* Weft ^xoxx^lmdon 
but may without fenfible Error ferveali the ad- 
jacent Places, even from Newfoundlajul ro South- 
Carolma. 



15y mCHJRl) ^y^UNDEiis:Ttn^ 

^. ^ PHILADRLPHIA: 

Pfimed and fold by B FRjfNKl/N. at the New 

Primiog Office near the Markcf 

The Third Jmprcflioa * ' ~ 

Facsimile of the Title Page of Poor Richard 
75 



76 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Portuguese, Dutch, Russian, Gaelic and modern Greek. 
In France it has appeared in more than thirty editions 
as " La Science du Bonhomme Richard," and as many 
times in England as " The Way to Wealth." 

This remarkable popularity was the result of humor, 
sturdy common sense, and an irresistible obviousness 
that characterizes all of Franklin's writing. There 
was nothing in Poor Richard's teaching to increase 
the spiritual and ideal elements of life, but much to 
Philosophy make men prudent, industrious, and com- 
and Humor fortable. Franklin's philosophy is utilitar 
rian and material ; lacking in his own nature some of 
the finer qualities of culture, he was inclined to exalt 
money-getting to a place among the higher virtues. 
But this is a limitation rather than a fault. He is, 
moreover, always the laughing philosopher. Like 
Lincoln, whom he resembles in many respects, he 
made wit and humor a part of his working strength. 
"Humor," says Parton, "was his forte, his element, 
his armor, his weapon, his solace. When most himself, 
he was most abounding in humor, and the older he 
grew, the more frolicsome his pen became." Naturajr- 
humor he refined into literary art. In the varied and 
effective uses of satire he was the pupil, and perhaps 
the equal, of Swift and Addison. 

The " Autobiography " is an American classic, and 
one of the few great books of its kind in the world. 
It has been translated into nearly every language of 
civilization, and is still read with hardly any abate- 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 77 

ment of interest by people in all sorts and conditions 
of life. It was begun in 1771, resumed in 1788, and 
left incomplete. Through a strange fortune it was 
first published in French, and a correct The "Auto- 
edition did not exist in English until 1868, biography 
when the original manuscript was obtained in France 
by John Bigelow, and under his editorial care pub- 
lished in this country. Its "perennial charm," says 
Curtis, " is like that of Kobinson Crusoe " ; and this 
charm is due largely to a style that, for crystal clear- 
ness and effective simplicity, is the equal of that of 
De Foe. With plain, pure, idiomatic, Saxon direct- 
ness, the language gives a perfect transcript of the 
author's mind. The reader never mistakes Franklin's 
meaning, and hardly notices that there is no rhetoric, 
no figures, no ornament except such as is native to 
the thought. Franklin followed, without knowing it, 
Chaucer's rule of writing, " the wordes mote be cosyn 
to the dede." The strongest impression of his style 
is that of the absence of all style. This is the result 
of character rather than of design. Franklin's prose 
is always a literal translation of himself, and in this 
fact lies the chief explanation of the abiding charm 
of the "Autobiography." It i)resents a broad, pic- 
turesque, fascinating personality ; a self-revelation 
utterly without affectation and without reserve. " If 
I were required to say for which of Franklin's achieve- 
ments he deserved most and best of mankind," wrote 
Horace Greeley, " I should award the palm to his 



78 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

' Autobiography,' — so frank, so sunny, so irradiated 
by a brave, blithe, hearty humanity." 

Of Franklin's total work as a writer during the 
Revolution, Professor Tyler expresses this final judg- 
ment : " Undoubtedly his vast experience in affairs and 
T ler's *^^^ sobriety produced by mere official re- 

Estimate of sponsibility had the effect of clarifying and 
solidifying his thought, and of giving to 
the highest products of his genius a sanity and a sure- 
ness of movement which, had he been a man of letters 
only, they could hardly have had in so high a degree. 
It is only by a continuous reading of the entire body 
of Franklin's Revolutionary writings, from grave to 
gay, from lively to severe, that any one can know how 
brilliant was his wisdom, or how wise was his bril- 
liance, or how humane and gentle and helpful were 
both. No one who, by such a reading, procures for 
himself such a pleasure and such a benefit, will be 
likely to nofttte the point of Sydney Smith's playful 
menace to hi^J^ughter, ' I will disinherit you if you 
do not admire everything written by Franklin.' " 



Class Study. — The Autobiography ; Father Abraham's 
Speech ; The Whistle ; Franklin and the Gout. 

Clan Reading. — Selections from the Familiar Letters ; The 
Ephemera ; A Petition of the Left Hand. 

Biography and Criticism. — Bigelow's "Life of Benjamin 
Franklin, written by Himself." Parton's "Life and Times of 
Benjamin Franklin." Morse's "Benjamin Franklin" (Ameri- 
can Statesmen Series), McMaster's " Benjamin Franklin as a 
Man of Letters." Hale's "Franklin in France." Ford's "The 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 79 

Many-sided Franklin." Robins's "Life of Benjamin Frank- 
lin." More's "Franklin" (Riverside Biographical Series). 
Sainte-Beuve's "English Portraits." Tyler's "Literary His- 
tory of the American Revolution," Vol. II, chap. 38. 
Carpenter's "American Prose." Richardson's "American 
Literature," Vol. I, chap. 5. Barrett Wendell's "Literary 
History of America." Sparks' s " Men who Made the Nation." 



THE REVOLUTIONARY STATESMEN 

The bold and impetuous patriots, Samuel Adams, 
James Otis, Patrick Henry, and their fellows, were 
political destroyers, rather than creators. They 
achieved liberty, but left to others the greater task 
of organizing and establishing it; they cleared the 
ground for the national structure, and the work was 
carried forward to completion by Jefferson, Hamilton, 
Washington, John Adams, Franklin, Madison, and 
Jay, the architects and builders of the The Nation- 
nation, the first American statesmen^ ^n Guilders 
1783 the war was ended and freedom^^s gained, but 
not union. There were thirteen little republics, 
obstinate and jealous in the exercise of their new 
and blood-bought independence. European statesmen 
prophesied that they would destroy each otl^ like 
the states of Greece, that freedom would resolve itself 
into anarchy. The results of Yorktown were yet to 
be secured. The period from 1783 to 1789, says 
Fiske, " was the most critical moment in all the his- 
tory of the American people " ; it was " preeminently 



80 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the turning point in the development of political 
society in the western hemisphere." 

But there were men with splendidly endowed intel- 
lects to meet this crisis, and the successful manner in 
which they brought into being a new nation, founded 
upon new principles, still continues to excite the 
admiration of the world. For broad intelligence, 
noble sentiments, and lofty purposes, for all the high- 
est qualities of true statesmanship, this 

A Group of ^ ^' 

True States- group of men has not been equaled in our 
^^^ history. We have had great men, states- 

men, orators, politicians, but these were grand men, 
the republic's noblemen. The written expression of 
the thought and feeling of such men, although in- 
tended only for political and temporary ends, would 
necessarily contribute something of permanent value 
to literary history. The crowning work of their 
united efforts is the Constitution, which Gladstone 
declared to be " the most wonderful work ever struck 
off at a given time by the brain and purpose of man." 
Preeminent among these statesmen, for large 
scholarship and fine culture, was Thomas Jefferson. 
He was educated at the college of William and Mary, 
and proved his devotion to learning by founding the 
University of Virginia, where he established the first 
chair of English language. He was an indifferent 
speaker, but a fluent and effective writer; and his 
writings show that he possessed the literary sense, if 
not the literary inspiration. John Adams speaks of 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 81 

his reputation as a writer " remarkable for the peculiar 
felicity of expression. " His " Notes on Virginia " and 
" Autobiography " are of historical value ^^ ^^^ 
and not without literary interest. His Jefferson, 
enormous influence as a political leader ^743-1826 
was exercised mainly through correspondence; not 
less than twenty-five thousand of his letters still 
exist, written with scrupulous care and taste, and 
often elaborated into formal essays, such as the " Dia- 
logue between the Head and the Heart," a neatly 
executed bit of satire reflecting the fashionable senti- 
mentalism of the period. His most illustrious literary 
achievement is the ''Declaration of Independence." 
The sonorous style, as well as the political philosophy 
of this document, has lost something of its original 
charm with the lapse of time, but the statement of 
principles, beginning with the well-worn words : " We 
hold these truths to be self evident : that all men are 
created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator 
with certain inalienable rights, that among these 
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," has 
continued to be the rallying cry of great political 
bodies whose ideals of self-government are still 
derived largely from the teachings of this Revolu- 
tionary statesman. 

In politics and philosophy Jefferson was an extreme 
radical, having imbibed the spirit of the brilliant 
theorists Hobbes, Locke, and Rousseau, and having 
become familiar with French revolutionary principles 



82 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

during his residence in France as the diplomatic 

successor of Franklin. His political creed, presented 

in his first inaugural address, was " equal 
Jefferson's ° ^ ^ 

Political and exact justice to all men, of whatever 

rincip es gtate or persuasion, religious or political," 
and "freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and 
freedom of person under protection of the habeas 
corpus, and trial by juries impartially selected." His 
faith in the people was sublime. The new govern- 
ment, "the world's best hope," instead of proving 
weak, as some feared, he believed to be " the strongest 
government on earth." Notwithstanding his excessive 
devotion to somewhat illusory doctrines of human 
rights, and in spite of the excesses into which his 
principles have sometimes betrayed the nation, we 
must still regard his writings as the best embodiment 
of ideal Americanism — freedom of the individual, 
belief in the people, confidence in majorities, and 
universal education as the final safeguards of liberty. 
Jefferson's great political adversary was Alexander 
Hamilton, soldier, orator, statesman, genius of finance 
— in many respects the most brilliant and creative 
intellect of the Eevolutionary era. When but seven- 
teen years old, moved by a quick-born and irresistible 

patriotism, he addressed the multitudes in 
Alexander l 7 

Hamilton, the streets of New York with precocious 
1757-1 04 power, and from that moment was a lead- 
ing figure in the movements of the period. To Ham- 
ilton, more than to any other one man, the nation 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 83 

probably owes the establishment of a constitutional 
government. In the struggle over the Constitution 
political parties had their origin. The Federalists, 
under the leadership of Hamilton, regarding extreme 
popular sovereignty with conservative distrust, advo- 
cated a strong central government as necessary to 
secure the stability of the nation. The Anti-Feder- 
alists, led by Jefferson, pushed for a more extended 
freedom for the individual and for the principle of 
"state rights." Like Washington, Hamilton extended 
his hand reluctantly to unlettered and unwashed de- 
mocracy, perhaps "bewitched and perverted," as Jef- 
ferson charged, "by the British example." The main 
issue of this great dispute was not finally settled 
until the Civil War, and the Constitution was con- 
structed out of compromises. To aid in securing its 
adoption by explaining and defending its provisions, 
Hamilton, James Madison, the "Father of the Con- 
stitution," and John Jay, soon to be the first Chief 
Justice, wrote the "Federalist," a series of eighty 
five essays, published in a New York The "Fed- 
newspaper, over the signature "Publius." erahst" 
The arguments in these papers, the greater number 
of which were by Hamilton, are clear, cogent, and 
effective. They constitute our finest and almoft only 
political classic, and form, in the judgment of Fiske, 
"the most profound and suggestive treatise on gov- 
ernment that has ever been written." The style of 
these papers, like that of all the political writing 



84 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

of the period except Franklin's, is somewhat ponder- 
ous, with its Latinized diction and carefully balanced 
periods. It is Johnsonian prose, but is vitalized with 
a freshness of feeling and a sincerity of purpose quite 
foreign to real Johnsonese. The majesty of the 
themes under discussion would seem to have im- 
pressed itself upon the style of these earnest writers. 
The thought moves forward with a heavy rhythmic 
swing, like the resounding tread of marching armies. 

The august personality of Washington left its 
impress upon literature in the " Farewell Address,'^ 
given to the people upon his retiring from the presi- 
dency. As an expression of the character of the man, 
whom Gladstone called " the purest figure in history," 
this address possesses an inestimable 
Washington, value. It is known that he was assisted 
I 32 I 99 ^^ ^-|^^ £^,g^ draft by Hamilton, but its 
stately dignity of phrase, its large-hearted sincerity, 
its wisdom and nobility of thought, are unmistakably 
his own. Portions of his letters and journals, and 
notably the address of 1783 to " The Governors of all 
the States," have much more than a historic interest, 
when read as records of the ideal promptings of a 
singularly exalted soul. 

Th# Diary and Correspondence of John Adams are 
delightfully readable and invaluable as contributions 
to the political and social history of the period. They 
contain minute records and vivid pictures of men and 
events, somewhat colored and always enlivened by the 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 85 

writer's personal prejudices. His style is clear, crisp, 
frank, free from affectations, and full of character. 
The most finished orator among the Feder- john Adams, 
alists was Fisher Ames, whose speech in ^735-1826 
favor of the treaty with England negotiated by John 
Jay, and eulogies of Washington and Hamilton, de- 
serve to be included in the choicest literary remains 
of the period. He is learned, classical, elegant, and 
eloquent, but too ornate for present taste. " He has 
something of Burke's affluence of imagi- Fisher Ames, 
nation," says Whipple, " something of ^758-1808 
Burke's power of condensing political wisdom into 
epigrammatic apothegms," but he lacks Burke's force 
of intellect and passion. " He was the despairing 
champion of a dying cause; he decorated the grave 
of Federalism with some of the choicest flowers of 
rhetoric; but the flowers are now withered, and the 
tomb itself hardly receives its due meed of honor." 

The writings of Washington, Adams, Hamilton, Jefferson, 
Madison, Jay, are a recognized portion of our literature, because 
the hoarded wisdom slowly gathered in by their practical knowl- 
edge of life crops out in their most familiar correspondence. 
A truism announced by such men brightens into a truth, 
because it has evidently been tested and proved by their ex- 
jperience in conducting affairs. There is an elemental grandeur 

in Washington's character and career which ren- „^^. , , 
. „ ... , . , Whipple's 

ders impertment all mere criticism on his style ; characteriza- 

for what he was and what he did are felt to out- tion of these 

value a hundredfold what he wrote. John Adams ^ esmen 

had a large, strong, vehement mind, interested in all questions 

relating to government. He was a personage of indomitable 



86 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

individuality, large acquirements, quick insight, and resolute 
civic courage ; but the storm and stress of public affairs gave 
to much of his thinking a character of intellectual irritation, 
rather than of sustained intellectual energy. His moral im- 
patience was such that he seems to fret as he thinks. Jefferson, 
of all our early statesmen, was the most efficient master of the 
pen, and the most " advanced " political thinker. In one sense, 
as the author of the Declaration of Independence, he may be 
called the greatest, or at least the most generally known, of 
American authors. ... As a political leader he was literally 
a man of letters ; and his letters are masterpieces, if viewed as 
illustrations of the arts by which political leadership may be 
attained. . . . Hamilton was, next to Eranklin, the most con- 
summate statesman among the band of eminent men who had 
been active in the Revolution, and who afterward labored to 
convert a loose confederation of states into a national govern- 
ment. His mind was as plastic as it was vigorous and pro- 
found. ... In intellect he was probably the most creative of 
our early statesmen, as in sentiment Jefferson was the most 
widely influential. It is difficult to say what this accomplished 
man might have done as a leader of the Federal opposition to 
the Democratic administrations of Jefferson and Madison, had 
he not, in the maturity of his years and in the full vigor of his 
faculties, been murdered by Aaron Burr. . . . Webster finely 
said that '' the spotless ermine of the judicial robe, when it fell 
on the shoulders of John Jay, touched nothing not as spotless as 
itself." His integrity ran down into the very roots of his moral 
being, and honesty was in him a passion as well as a principle. 
. . . With all his mental ability, Madison had not much 
original force of nature. He leaned now to Hamilton, now 
to Jefferson, and at last fell permanently under the influence 
of the genius of the latter. He was lacking in that grand 
moral and intellectual impulse, underlying mere knowledge 
and logic, which distinguishes the man who reasons from the 
mere reasoner. His character was not on a level with his 
talents and acquirements.^ 

1 Whipple's " American Literature," pp. 14-19. 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 87 

REVOLUTIONARY POETRY 

Poetry during the Revolutionary period remained 
in its dependent and imitative condition. The influ- 
ence of the school of Pope was predominant ; all seri- 
ous attempts were reflections of accepted English 
masterpieces. The earliest note of origi- Lack of 
nality is heard in the songs and ballads originality 
that appeared in profusion, as a kind of crude musical 
accompaniment to the Kevolutionary oratory, harsh 
and monotonous, like the fife and drum music of the 
time, but an effective rallying call to patriots. 

Balladry is the people's poetry, and to become clas- 
sic a ballad must express a sentiment of universal ap- 
peal and must pass through the refining processes of 
the ages. Such are the old English ballads of love 
and adventure. Our early American ballads and pop- 
ular lyrics, though filled with the strife and passion 
of the times, largely lost their significance 
with the passing of events that inspired 
them. They lack the romantic interest of the old 
Robin Hood and Border ballads of the "north coun- 
tre " ; there is none of the enchantment of distance, 
tradition, and mystery ; and the sins of King George 
and his ministers no longer quicken the pulses with 
patriotic ardor. 

There are two mighty speakers, 

Who rule in Parliament, 
Who ever have been seeking 

Some mischief to invent ; 



88 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

'Twas North, and Bute his father, 

The horrid plan did lay 
A mighty tax to gather 

In North America. 

In endless rhymes of this doggerel, singsong type, 
that were easily shouted to some popular air, the 
whole history of the conflict may be found recorded ; 
but they are now claimed by oblivion rather than by 
literature. Many are clever, spirited, humorous, and 
pungent with satire, but without the saving grace of 
an artistic touch in the composition. Such are " The 
Battle of the Kegs," by Francis Hopkinson, "The 
Fate of John Burgoyne," "Bold Hawthorne," and 
" Brave Paulding and the Spy." The tender and me- 
lodious " Ballad of Nathan Hale " is too good to be 
forgotten. One of the most popular productions on 
the Tory side was " The Cow Chase," a parody on the 
old Chevy Chase, written by Major Andre to ridicule 
" mad " Anthony Wayne. One of the very worst of 
these rollicking ballads is the famous " Yankee's Ke- 
turn from Camp," sung to the tune of " Yankee Doo- 
dle," which appeared in 1775. Two lyrics of the period 
have been adopted as national songs, Joseph Hopkin- 
son's " Hail Columbia," written in 1798, and Francis 
Scott Key's "Star-spangled Banner," written in J 814, 
during the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. 
Robert Treat Paine's "Adams and Liberty" and Tim- 
othy Dwight's "Columbia" have maintained a celeb- 
rity quite unwarranted by their merits. 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 89 

The strongest form of versifying was the political 
satire. Dry den and Pope taught the eighteenth cen- 
tury the use of satire as a weapon in political warfare, 
and just at the outbreak of the Revolution Churchill's 
corruscations of satirical wit were aston- The 
ishing the English speaking world. The satirists 
American struggle produced abundant imitations of 
the English models, but few of them survived their 
temporary usefulness. Of all forms of poetry satire 
is most liable to an early death; nothing short of 
the wit of consummate genius can save it. The 
chief satirists on the Patriot side were John Trum- 
bull, Francis Hopkinson and Philip Ereneau, and on 
the Loyalist side, Joseph Stansbury and Jonathan 
Odell. Two of these, Trumbull and Freneau, came 
so near being poets as to deserve brief study.^ 

The most celebrated satire of the Revolution was 
Trumbull's "McEingal," a burlesque epic, modeled 
after Butler's " Hudibras." It first appeared in 1776, 
became at once marvelously popular, ran through 
more than thirty editions, " penetrated into 
every farmhouse, and sent the rustic vol- buii, 
unteers laughing into the ranks of Wash- ^^^°~^ ^^ 
ington." The hero is a pretentious Tory who, for his 
defiant harangues in the town meeting and obstinate 
defense of the king, is tarred and feathered by the 
patriot mob, and fastened ignominiously to the liberty 

1 For a full account of these satirists, see Tyler's '* Literary His- 
tory of the American Revolution." 



90 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

pole. Although imitative in form and unfortunate 
in its Scotch title, the poem is genuinely American in 
spirit, and accurately representative of the political 
sentiments and customs of the days of '76. It is well 
spiced with wit and humor, and original enough to be 
worthily compared with its famous prototype. Many 
of its couplets are so neatly turned in the Hudibrastic 
manner as to be generally credited to Butler in current 
quotation. For example : — 

No man e'er felt the halter draw, 
With good opinion of the law ; 
Or held in method orthodox, 
His love of justice in the stocks ; 
Or failed to lose by sheriff's shears 
At once his loyalty and ears. 

Trumbull belonged to a coterie of Connecticut 
writers known as the " Hartford Wits," who made 
Hartford for a time the literary capital of the colo- 
nies, as Boston was before, and New York after the 
Eevolution. Among them were Joel Barlow and 
Timothy Dwight, afterward president of 
"Hartford Yale College. Filled with patriotic zeal 
^^^^ and confident of their summons from the 

Muses, these poets determined to establish an Ameri- 
can literature that should be commensurate with the 
greatness of the rising republic. The result was 
much flapping and spreading of wings, but no flight 
toward the empyrean of true poetry. There was big- 
ness, but not greatness. America — or Columbia, as 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 91 

the poets preferred — should have at once a grand 
national epic, like the " Iliad " ; so Barlow wrote his 
" Columbiad," published first, in 1787, as the " Vision 
of Columbus," and in its final and enlarged form in 
1807. Borrowing the plan from the elev- joei Bariow, 
enth book of " Paradise Lost," the author ^755-1812 
has Columbus led from prison by "Hesper" to a 
"hill of vision," who there unfolds before him the 
history and future greatness of America. This pro- 
digious epic astonished readers for a time with its 
gorgeous panoply of words, its resounding patriotism 
being mistaken for poetry, but it now lies undisturbed 
beneath the dust of a century. Hawthorne playfully 
suggested that it be set to the music of artillery and 
thunder and lightning, as a kind of national oratorio. 
Barlow was more successful with mock heroics than 
with real heroics. His " Hasty Pudding," written in 
Savoy in 1793, and dedicated to Mrs. Washington, is 
pleasantly humorous, and redolent of the cornfields 
and kitchens of New England. His intimate knowl- 
edge of the old-time farmer's life is shown in many 
homely pictures quite as realistic as the description of 
the " husking " : — 

Where the huge heap lies center'd in the hall, 

The lamp suspended from the cheerful wall, 

Brown, corn-fed nymphs, and strong, hard-handed beaux, 

Alternate ranged, extend in circling rows. 

Assume their seats, the solid mass attack ; 

The dry husks rustle, and the corncobs crack ; 

The song, the laugh, alternate notes resound. 



92 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

And the sweet cider trips in silence round. 
The laws of husking every wight can tell, 
And sure no laws he ever keeps so well : 
For each red ear a general kiss he gains, 
With each smut ear he smuts the luckless swains ; 
But when to some sweet maid the prize is cast. 
Red as her lips and taper as her waist. 
She walks the round and culls one favor'd beau, 
Who leaps the luscious tribute to bestow. 
Various the sport, as are the wits and brains 
Of well-pleased lasses and contending swains ; 
Till the vast mound of corn is swept away, 
And he that gets the last ear wins the day. 

Another grandiloquent epic was Dwight's "Con- 
quest of Canaan/' published in 1785, "the first of 
the kind which has been published in this country/' 
proudly wrote the author. It contains between nine 
and ten thousand verses, arranged in well-starched 
Augustan couplets, stiftly braced with artificial an- 
titheses. With a patriotic stretch of epic consistency, 
the War of Independence is inserted among the wars 
^. of the Israelites. To read this epic, or 

Dwight, any considerable portion of it, would re- 

1752-1 17 quire heroic patience. But not so with 
the author's moralized pastoral, " Greenfield Hill," in 
which there are encouraging hints of real poetic feel- 
ing. It pleasantly describes a Connecticut village, 
recalling distantly Denham's " Cooper's Hill," and 
reflecting the influence of Thompson, Goldsmith, and 
Beattie. But nothing that he wrote in verse is so 
valuable as his "Travels in New England and New 



ii] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 93 

York," an entertaining description of personal ob- 
servation and experience, which must increase in 
interest and historical value as time goes on. Dwight 
was the grandson of Jonathan Edwards, and proved 
his inheritance of theological power in his best-known 
work, " Theology Explained and Defended," which 
has passed through more than a hundred editions, 
as the authoritative and fundamental presentation of 
New England orthodoxy. 

It is a high distinction to bear what Sidney called 
"the sacred name of poet." Among the Kevolution- 
ary rhymers, Philip Ereneau alone established a full 
right to this name. In the opinion of Tyler, he was 
"a true man of genius, the one poet of unquestion- 
able originality granted to America prior to the nine- 
teenth century." He might have been a 
gentle and graceful singer of imperishable Freneau, 
songs, but the times made him a fierce and ^^^^"^^^a 
bitter satirist. With astonishing facility he turned 
events and sentiments of the hour into ballads, satires, 
and lampoons, burning with patriot resentment and 
vituperative scorn, which perished with the hour they 
served. But a few scattered lyrics reveal the real 
poet, born out of due time. In contrast with the 
ponderous dullness of Dwight and Barlow, such lines 
as these from " The Wild Honeysuckle " are a refresh- 
ing surprise : — • 

Fair flower, that dost so comely grow, 
Hid in this silent, dull retreat, 



94 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Untouched thy honied blossoms blow, 

Unseen thy little branches greet ; 
No roving foot shall crush thee here, 
No busy hand provoke a tear. 

By Nature's self in white arrayed, 
She bade thee shun the vulgar eye, 

She planted here the guardian shade, 
And sent soft waters murmuring by ; 

Thus quietly the summer goes. 

Thy days declining to repose. 

This delicate little poem is as distinct a departure 

from the established models of eighteenth-century 

poetry as Burns's " To a Field Mouse " and " To the 

Daisy," and it is a significant fact that Freneau's first 

volume of poems and Burns's first volume appeared in 

the same year, 1786. Pope and his devoted followers 

never discovered nature; there are no wild flowers 

„ . . and bird notes in their poetry. Freneau 

Beginning ^ ^ 

of Nature proved the genuineness of his gift by 
°® ^ breaking away from conventions. His 

songs are fresh, original, and musical. He saw the 
difference between natural rhythm and mechanical 
rhythm, and he discovered the poetic beauty of sim- 
ple objects in nature. This weak, but genuine, strain 
of nature music was prelusive of the full, rich tones 
of Bryant and Emerson. In the " Indian Burying 
Ground" and '' Indian Student," Freneau gave the 
first suggestion of that pensi^'e, romantic quality with 
which the life of the departing red men was invested 
by Longfellow. The first of these poems Campbell 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 95 

complimented by borrowing a line withont acknowl- 
edgment for his " O'Connor's Child." The poem on 
the battle of " Eutaw Springs " was similarly honored 
by Scott, who pronounced it one of the finest things of 
its kind in the language, and inserted one of its best 
lines in " Marmion." The little poem, ^' To a Honey 
Bee," Stedman regards as "good enough to be Lan- 
der's," and " The House of Night," which anticipates 
the weirdness of Poe, Richardson thinks to be "the 
best poem written in America before 1800." Surely, 
with these lyrics before the world, American poetry 
had made a respectable beginning. 

Prominent among the " Hartford Wits " was David 
Humphreys, who enjoyed the intimate friendship of 
Washington, and celebrated it in the once admired 
ode " Mount Vernon." Barlow, Trumbull, and Hum- 
phreys published, in 1786, a series of satirical papers 
called the "Anarchiad," in the manner of the "Bol- 
liad," which appeared a year earlier in England. The 
purpose of these papers was to correct the evils of the 
political confusion that prevailed just be- political 
fore the adoption of the Constitution, and satire 
they contain much clever ridicule of the Democrats 
and their great chief, Jefferson; for the Connecticut 
writers were all Federalists. A similar series called 
the "Echo," was written by Dwight and Richard 
Alsop. Trumbull also published a series of essays 
called "The Meddler," in the style of Addison and 
Steele, whose influence controlled all light prose writ- 



96 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

ing down to living's "Sketch Book." The leading 
Democratic wit was Hugh Henry Brackenridge, a 
Pennsylvania judge, and author of "Modern Chiv- 
alry." This excellent political satire reflects the 
influence of Cervantes, Fielding, and Sterne, but its 
strong-flavored frontier humor and homely wisdom are 
thoroughly American. He also won fame in his own 
time by two dramatic poems, " Battle of Bunker's Hill" 
and " Death of Montgomery." 

The " Poems " of the negro girl, Phillis Wheatley, 
published in London in 1773, afford one of the most 
singular cases of precocity known to literature. They 

. . rank with the best of the American echoes 

PhiUis 

Wheatley, of the English classicists, and there can be 

1754-17 4 j^Q doubt of their genuineness, since the 

early editions contain the testimony of estimable 

people of Boston, to the fact that they " were written 

by Phillis, a young negro girl, who was, but a few 

years since, brought an uncultured barbarian from 

Africa." Alexander Wilson, the "father of American 

Alexander Ornithology," was our earliest poet natural- 

wiison, ist. His poem, "The Foresters," shows 

the poet's sensitive appreciation, as well as 
William , . . ., , . r. 

Livingston, the scientist's close observation of nature. 

1723-1790 Qjjg Qf ^\^Q most pleasing imitations of Pope 
is Livingston's "Philosophic Solitude," in which the 
antitheses and imagery of the " E-ape of the Lock," are 
deftly reproduced : — 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 97 

Mine be the pleasure of a rural life, 

From noise remote and ignorant of strife, 

Far from the painted belle and white-gloved beau, 

The lawless masquerade and midnight show ; 

From ladies, lapdogs, courtiers, garters, stars, 

Fops, fiddlers, tyrants, emperors, and czars. 

In 1818 the young Bryant wrote for the North Am- 
erican Review a critical survey of American poetry, in 
which he mentions only those poets whom he esteemed 
worthy to be remembered, passing over many names 
" because he would not willingly disturb their passage 
to that oblivion toward which, to the honor of our 
country, they are hastening." It is a Bryant's 
melancholy evidence of the wreckage criticism 
wrought by time with literary reputations that not one 
of those whom he does mention is now read or remem- 
bered. Of all this strenuous versifying in the eigh- 
teenth century only a few lyrics remain as a permanent 
part of literature. The chief value of all the rest is 
historical. Bryant condemned his brother bards for 
their " sickly and affected imitation of the peculiar 
manner of the late popular poets of England." But 
his censure was really too severe. In the tumult of 
war and the uncertainty of nation-building there could 
be no new creative impulses and no prevailing aesthetic 
purpose in literature ; it must serve the purpose of the 
day, and that purpose was mainly political. 

But a new dawn was breaking. When Bryant wrote 
his criticism, he had already published " Thanatopsis '' 



98 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

and "To a Waterfowl." A new influence had come 
from England, where the spell of Pope was broken be- 
fore the close of the century. The year in 
Change in j ^ 

English which D wight's " Conquest of Canaan " ap- 

Poetry peared, Cowper's " Task " was published. 

Crabbe's " Village " appeared two years before. While 
Barlow was writing his " Vision of Columbus " Burns 
was writing his immortal songs. In 1789, the year of 
the Constitution, appeared William Blake's "Songs of 
Innocence," and Gilbert White's "Natural History 
of Selborne," and in 1798 came Wordsworth and 
Coleridge's "Lyrical Ballads." This new force in 
poetry was felt in America as soon as the era of peace 
and settled government had fully opened. 

As the Revolutionary epoch drew to a close there was a 
general awakening to the need of sesthetic culture, and atten- 
tion was given to other forms of art. Benjamin 
Beginning of ^^est won fame abroad as a painter. Copley, in 
^j.^ Boston, and Peale, in Philadelphia, painted hun- 

dreds of portraits of the Revolutionary heroes, 
while the battle scenes were spread upon canvas by Colonel 
Trumbull ; and the portraits of Gilbeiilt Stuart ranked with the 
masterpieces of the English school. «• 

The drama was also making headway against the prejudice 
and poverty of the New World. In 1752, for the first time in 
this country, a play ("The Merchant of Venice") was given 
by professional actors, at Williainsburg, Va. A theater was 
built in New York in 1753, and another in 1759 in Philadelphia. 
The first American play to be acted by profes- 

e rama gJQj^aig ^^g Royal Tyler's "Contrast," given in 
New York in 1786, a comedy, in which the character of the 
" stage Yankee " appeared, which has since become so familiar. 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 99 

Tyler's " Georgia Speculator " also had a popular run in Bos- 
ton in 1797, and two years later appeared the same author's 
"Algerine Captive," one of the earliest attempts at fiction. 
William Dunlap, a painter, historian, and playwright of New 
York, did much to promote the interests of art and the drama. 
In 1818 John Howard Payne's "Brutus" appeared, one of the 
very few American plays that have continued upon the stage. 
In 1829 " Metamora," written by John A. Stone for Edwin 
Forrest, the first great American tragedian, set the fashion for 
Indian plays. At the close of the War of 1812, we find the 
artistic instincts of America aroused in many directions ; the 
ground was prepared for the rich growth of the next period. 

Class Reading. — Battle of the Kegs ; Ballad of Nathan Hale; 
Hail Columbia ; Adams and Liberty ; The Liberty Song ; The 
Yankee Man-of-War ; The Star-spangled Banner ; The Hasty 
Pudding ; The Indian Burying Ground ; The Indian Student ; 
The Wild Honeysuckle ; Eutaw Springs ; To a Honey Bee. 



CHARLES BROCKDEN BROWN 

1771-1810 

Imaginative literature made a better beginning in 
fiction than in poetry. The ^' sentimentalism " that 
was rising to flood tide in English literature appeared 
in 1790 in Mrs. Sueanna Kowson's "Charlotte Tem- 
ple," a novel bedewed with the tears of many thou- 
sands of readers. In contrast to this was ^. ^ 

First 

Mrs. Tabitha Tenney's "Female Quixot- American 
ism," 1808, which satirized " the lachrymose ^°^^^^ 
and gushing willingness of young women to believe 
in everything superficially romantic." James Feni- 
more Cooper began, in 1821, his remarkable series 



100 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

of novels with " The Spy " ; the same year John 
Neal, whose multitudinous forces, says Whipple, 
"occupy all the province of letters," produced his 
"■ Logan," followed by " Seventy-six " and other his- 
torical tales ; and in 1824 Catharine Maria Sedgwick's 
" Kedwood " achieved the celebrity of four European 
translations. But the real founder of American fic- 
tion was Charles Brockden Brown, our first profes- 
sional man of letters, whose extraordinary books can 
still be read with more than merely a student's 
interest. He was born in Philadelphia in 1771, and 
divided his life of thirty-nine years between that city 
and New York. He was retiring and studious in his 
nature, morbid and introspective in thought, the vic- 
tim of constant ill health and of the poverty enforced 
by his devotion to literature. In 1799 he established 
in New York the Monthly Magazine and American 
Register, which lived but one year; in 1803 the 
Literary Magazine and American Register, in Phila- 
delphia, which survived five years; and in 1806 the 
American Register, which continued until his death, — 
names and dates indicative, not only of Brown's 
struggles, but also of the early struggles of periodical 
literature. 

Between 1798 and 1801 Brown wrote and published 
six novels, the best of which are " Wieland," " Edgar 
Huntley," and " Arthur Mervyn." The last is cele- 
brated for its realistic descriptions of the yellow fever 
scourge in Philadelphia in 1793, recalling the similar 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 101 

work of De Foe. In " Edgar Huntley " he anticipated 
Cooper by introducing Indian characters and peril- 
ous adventures in the remote wilderness. „ 

Brown" s 

These novels are generally condemned Novels: 
for their many palpable faults, without ^^^''^^^^^^ 
being credited with their real merits. They are fan- 
tastic mixtures of the extravagant sentimentality and 
absurd romance that ran riot in English fiction before 
Scott gave sanity and principles to romance writing. 
They belong to the "nightmare school," with Wal- 
pole's " Castle of Otranto," Mrs. Eadcliffe's " Myste- 
ries of Udolpho," William Godwin's " Caleb Williams," 
and Mrs. Shelley's "Frankenstein." They possess 
all the stage properties of melodramatic sensations, 
secret passages, forged letters, hidden treasure, hor- 
rors of blood and mystery, victims of ventriloquism, 
somnambulism, and madness. The plots are care- 
lessly constructed, the diction is stilted, the heroines 
are too " nymph-like " and " celestial " to be human, 
and the heroes are morbid or monstrous. The atmos- 
phere is one of midnight mystery, that induces the 
sensation of creepiness, and the prevailing tone is 
melancholy. 

Yet in spite of all this, as Kichardson remarks, one 
is sure to find, even in the poorest of Brown's novels, 
"some touch of what we call genius." He knew the 
trick of holding the attention by piquing the curiosity, 
as well as some of the methods of modern " realism," 
in the use of minute details for presenting vivid scenes. 



102 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

and in psychological probings after motives. In weird 
imaginativeness his novels are forerunners of Poe's 
Their '^ Tales/^ and foreshadowings of Haw- 

Merits thorne's subtile dealings with mystery. In 

his style and thought he betrays his indebtedness to 
Godwin and his wife, Mary Wollstonecraf t. Under the 
influence of the latter, doubtless, he wrote " Alcuin," 
the earliest protest in this country in behalf of woman's 
higher privileges. The poet Shelley was powerfully 
influenced by these novels, and his own experiments 
in prose fiction, and those of Mrs. Shelley, were largely 
due to this influence. 

" With all his inflation of style," says Thomas Went- 
worth Higginson, " he was undoubtedly, in his way, a 
careful observer. The proof of this is, that he has 
preserved for us many minor points of life and man- 
ners which make the Philadelphia of a century ago 
now more familiar to us than is any other American 
city of that period. He gives us the roving Indian ; 

„^ . the newly arrived French musician with 

Their -^ 

Historical violin and monkey ; the one-story farm- 
houses, where boarders are entertained at a 
dollar a week; the gray cougar amid caves of lime- 
stone. We learn from him '■ the dangers and toils of a 
midnight journey in a stage coach in America. The 
roads are knee deep in mire, winding through crags 
and pits, while the wheels groan and totter, and the 
curtain and roof admit the wet at a thousand seams.' 
We learn the proper costume for a youth of good 



II] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 103 

fortune and family — ' nankeen coat striped with 
green, a white silk waistcoat elegantly needle-wrought, 
cassimere pantaloons, stockings of variegated silk, and 
shoes that in their softness vie with satin.' When 
dressing himself, this favored youth ties his flowing 
locks with a black ribbon. We discover also, with 
some surprise, that negroes were freely admitted to 
ride in stage coaches in Pennsylvania, although they 
were liable, half a century later, to be ejected from 
street cars. We learn also that there were negro free 
schools in Philadelphia. All this was before 1801." 

Reading and Discussion. —Arthur Mervyn. 

Biography and Criticism. — Sparks's "American Biogra- 
phy," Vol. I. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Prescott's "Miscel- 
lanies." Richardson's "American Literature," Vol. II, pp. 286- 
289. Carpenter's" American Prose." Tuckerman's "Essays, 
Biographical and Critical." Barrett Wendell's " Literary His- 
tory of America." 

The patriotism of the Revolutionary period is j)ecu- 
liarly illustrated in the work of Noah AVebster. The 
discharged soldiers had hardly reached their homes 
when he began publishing school text-books for the 
new republic. In 1783 appeared the first part of " A 
Grammatical Institute of the English Language, com- 
prising an Easy, Concise, and Systematic 
Method of Education, designed for the Use Webster, 
of English Schools in America." This com- *^^ "^ ^^ 
prehensive scheme was to be given to the world in 
three parts, a speller, a grammar, and a reader. This 



104 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

famous " speller," of which it is estimated over sixty 
millions of copies have been issued, "may fairly be 
called the first book published in the United States of 
America." In 1828 appeared the "American Dictionary 
of the English Language," a work that marks an epoch 
in the history of English speech. " Let us seize the 
present moment," said Webster, " and establish a na- 
tional language as well as a national government." 
Upon the basis of this lexicographical declaration of 
independence he constructed his great book, assuming 
as radical an attitude toward the sanctities of British 
speech as his fellow nation-builders had assumed 
toward the British Constitution. 

One book belonging to this period possesses a truly 
unique interest, the "Journal" of John Woolman, 
"beyond comparison," declared Channing, "the sweet- 
est and purest autobiography in the lan- 
wooiman, guage." Charles Lamb wrote: "Get the 
1720-1772 writings of John Woolman by heart, and 
love the early Quakers." Similarly Coleridge was fas- 
cinated by the beauty and tenderness of this quaint nar- 
rative. Woolman was a Quaker, born in New Jersey in 
1720, a tailor by trade, a great traveler, a friend of the 
Indians, and an opponent of slavery. Whittier says in 
the introduction to his edition of the "Journal": "I 
have been awed and solemnized by the presence of a 
serene and beautiful spirit, redeemed of the Lord from 
all selfishness, and I have been made thankful for the 
9;bility to recognize, and the disposition to love him." 



ii] PERIOD OF THE REVOLUTION 105 



HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

Bancroft's "History of the United States," Vols. Ill, IV, 
V. Fiske's "American Revolution" and "Critical Period." 
Lecky's " American Revolution." Trevelyan's " The American 
Revolution." McMaster's " History of the People of the 
United States," Vols. I, II. Winsor's "Narrative and Critical 
History of America," Vol. VI, and "Reader's Handbook of 
the American Revolution." Higginson's "Larger History of 
the United States," chaps. 9-12. Sloane's "The French War 
and Revolution," pp. 116-369. Hart's "Formation of the 
Union " (Epochs of American History), pp. 42-101. Tyler's 
"Literary History of the American Revolution." Frothing- 
ham's "Rise of the Republic." Walker's "The Making of 
the Nation" (American History Series). Lossing's "Field 
Book of the American Revolution." Sparks' s " American 
Biography," 2d series. Vol. II (Otis). Scudder's "Men and 
Manners in America One Hundred Years Ago." Irving's 
"Life of Washington." Parton's "Life of Franklin." Hos- 
mer's "Samuel Adams." Tyler's "Patrick Henry." Lodge's 
"Washington" and "Hamilton." Morse's "Jefferson" and 
"John Adams." Gay's " Madison." Schouler's "Jefferson" 
(Makers of America). Sumner's "Hamilton" and "Robert 
Morris." Trent's "Southern Statesmen of the Old Regime" 
(Washington, Jefferson, Randolph). Headley's " Washington 
and his Generals." Alice Brown's "Mercy Warren." Mrs. 
Goodwin's "Dolly Madison." Mrs. Wharton's "Martha 
Washington." Mrs. Humphrey's "Catharine Schuyler." Mrs. 
Ravenel's "Eliza Pinckney." Todd's "Life and Letters of 
Joel Barlow." Tyler's "Three Men of Letters." Austin's 
" Philip Freneau." Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XV (" The Pleiades 
of Connecticut"). 

Contemporary Literature. — Hart's " American History told 
by Contemporaries." " Letters of John and Abigail Adams." 
Stedman and Hutchinson's " Library of American Literature." 
Johnston's "American Orations," Vol, I. The "Federalist," 



106 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap, ii 

Moore's "Songs and Ballads of the American Revolution." 
Eggleston's "American War Ballads and Lyrics," Vol. I. 
Franklin's "Works." "Declaration of Independence" and 
Washington's " Farewell Address " (Maynard's English Classic 
Series). "Old South Leaflets," 4, 9, 10, 12, 15, 16, 68, 86, 97, 
98, 99. 

Illustrative Literature. — Longfellow's "Paul Revere's 
Ride." Bryant's "Song of Marion's Men"; "Seventy-six." 
Holmes's " Grandmother's Story of Bunker Hill Battle " ; "In- 
dependence Bell"; "Ballad of the Boston Tea-party." Em- 
erson's " Boston" ; " Concord Hymn." Pierpont's " Warren's 
Address." Lanier's "Battle of Lexington." Matthews's 
"Poems of American Patriotism." Mrs. Child's "The 
Rebels." Cooper's "Spy" and "Pilot." Simms's "Partisan." 
Miss Sedgwick's " The Linwoods." Cooke's " Virginia Come- 
dians." Kennedy's "Horseshoe Robinson." Butterworth's 
"Patriot Schoolmaster." Mitchell's "Hugh Wynne." Mrs. 
Harrison's "Son of the Old Dominion." Ford's "Janice 
Meredith." Churchill's " Richard Carvel." Webster's " Bun- 
ker Hill Orations. " Everett's "Orations and Speeches," Vol. 
HI. 



CHAPTER III 
THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 

The period from 1815 to 1837 may be appropriately 
called the period of national expansion. The turmoil 
of war had ceased, English aggression was forever at 
an end, and the United States were established as a 
great nation. The party quarrels over the new Consti- 
tution were settled, temporarily at least, and an " Era 
of Good Feeling " was inaugurated. The period of 
work of national consolidation had been Expansion 
accomplished, and now the work of national develop- 
ment was pushed vigorously forward. Peace, pros- 
perity, native energy, and the pride of a new-born 
nationality stimulated enterprise in every direction ; 
enthusiastic effort for expansion was the order of the 
day. 

The remarkable expedition of Lewis and Clark, in 
1804-1806, to the mouth of the Columbia, led to 
dreams of golden possibilities in the illimitable West. 
The defeat of the Indians along the south- ^^^ ^^^^ 
ern and western frontier and the death of ward Move- 
Tecumseh, in 1813, opened vast regions to ^^^ 
secure settlement, and a stream of emigration began 
to flow westward that soon spread like a flood over 

107 



108 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the whole of the Mississippi valley. Then states 
were rapidly cut out of the wilderness and added to 
the nation ; during the period the " old thirteen " were 
increased to twenty-four, and between 1810 and 1840 
the population advanced from seven to\ seventeen 
millions. This sudden transformation of the wilder- 
ness becomes more interesting and incredible to us as 
it becomes more remote. In 1828 a local historian of 
Ohio wrote : " We stand in the midst of a state which 
but little more than thirty years ago was all possessed 
by ruthless savages ; and we now see cities and towns, 
more than an hundred thousand militia, nearly a 
million inhabitants, two canals, the one nearly seventy 
and the other three hundred miles in length, a great 
number of flourishing villages, handsome farmhouses, 
and every indication of comfort and abundance; and 
the whole scene has at first view the aspect of fable 
and enchantment." 

This period was also a period of great inventions, 
which aided material development and revolutionized 
modern life. In 1807 Fulton launched his first steam- 
boat, and a few years later these boats were transport- 
Material ii^g emigrants on the western rivers and 
Progress lakes. In 1825 the Erie Canal was opened; 
in 1835 Morse set up his first telegraph wire ; and in 
1838 the first steamship crossed the Atlantic. It was 
an era of large projections and broad foundations. 
Every man was making history and adding to the 
national glory. Life was filled with wild and pictur- 



ml THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 109 

esque experience, the rich material of poetry and 
romance, not a tithe of which has yet been converted 
from its crude state into literature. " There was never 
a clearing made in the forest," says Dr. Holmes, " that 
did not let in the light on heroes and heroines." 
Irving's " Tour on the Prairies " and " Captain Bonne- 
ville," Cooper's "Pioneers," and Paulding's "West- 
ward Ho " are contemporary records in literary form 
that have an abiding freshness of interest. But the 
epic or adequate history of this marvelous western 
movement is yet to be written. 

Coincident with the widespread industrial impulses 
of the nation there was an awakening of literary 
impulses toward independent creativeness. American 

literary genius was born. In 1837 Emerson, , 

•^ ° ^ American 

in his memorable address at Harvard Col- Literary in- 
lege on " The American Scholar," said : ^^^^ ^^^^ 
" Our day of dependence, our long apprenticeship to 
the learning of other lands, draws to a close. The 
millions that around us are rushing into life cannot 
always be fed on the sere remains of foreign harvests. 
Events, actions, arise that must be sung, that will sing 
themselves." This address was itself received as 
evidence that the American intellect had achieved its 
independence. Several literary reputations were 
already established, and some works of genuine native 
genius had been produced. Erom that date our 
literature exchanged its attitude of dependence and 
imitation for one of adventurous freedom and self- 



110 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

confidence, sustaining henceforth toward English 
literature only those mutual relations and reflections 
that necessarily exist between two literatures of the 
same language and people. 

The year 1837 marks even a more important epoch 
in English literature. It was the year of Queen 
Victoria's accession, of Dickens's " Pickwick Papers," 
and of Carlyle's " French Revolution." The great 
poets of the Romantic School, Byron, 
Victorian Keats, Shelley, Coleridge, and Scott, were 
in their graves, and the leading voices of 
the Victorian choir, the Brownings and Tennyson, 
were beginning to be heard. Wordsworth and Southey 
were alive, but silent. The Promethean heat of these 
poets of revolution in England was borne across the 
Atlantic to light the fires on our new altars. Words- 
worth filled the young Bryant's soul with solemn 
ecstasy, and the lyric passion of Byron and Moore 
stirred lesser poets into song; Scott gave models to 
Cooper ; while Irving, though influenced by a con- 
servative taste that led him back to Addison and 
Goldsmith, in his American sketches and Spanish 
tales was as genuine a romanticist as Coleridge. Our 
authors of this period began as imitators, but in 
"Thanatopsis," "The Spy," and "Eip Van Winkle" 
were soon recognized the voices of a new realm of 
literary independence and originality. 

During the colonial period Boston was the intel- 
lectual center of America, and was again to become 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 111 

the literary capital, but at the beginning of the cen- 
tury the center of literary activity was at New York, 
Here several young authors were associated in a 
genial literary and social companionship, remotely 
suggestive of the club and coffee-house life of Eng- 
lish literature in the eighteenth century. The 
Many of these were contributors to the ^o^ker 
Knickerbocker Magazine ; some of them School ' • 
were descendants of the old "Knickerbocker fami- 
lies"; hence they have been loosely styled the 
"Knickerbocker School." The name belongs more 
strictly to Irving, Paulding, Drake, and Halleck, but 
associated with these, more or less intimately, were 
Bryant, Cooper, Dana, Willis, Woodworth, and others 
whose writings were chiefl}^ published in New York 
before 1850. The earliest members of the group were 
called by Poe the " Pioneers of American literature." 
The central figure of the company, and in some senses 
the founder of American literature, was Washington 
Irving. 

WASHINGTON IRVING 

1783-1859 

Washington Irving was born in William Street, 
New York, April 3, 1783, just as General Washington 
with his patriot troops took possession of the city. 
When Washington again came to the city to assume 
the presidency, the child's Scotch nurse, filled with 



112 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



the prevailing enthusiasm, followed the hero one day 
and presented his little namesake. "Please, your 
„^ ^. ^ honor," said Lizzie, "here's a bairn was 

Washington ' ' 

and his named after you." Gently touching the 

lograp er ci-^ii(^'s head, the great man bestowed a 
blessing upon his future biographer. 

Irving was 
mainly self-edu- 
cated ; he read 
extensively, en- 
joying especially 
books of travel 
and adventure, 
and wrote juve- 
nile poems and 
plays. At sixteen 
he entered a law 
office, but find- 
ing the work dis- 
tasteful, studied 
literature more 
zealously than 
law. With what 
thoroughness he read Addison's " Spectator " is shown 
by a series of critical and humorous essays written 
Earl Tast s "^^^^ nineteen for his brother's paper, the 
Morning Chronicle, and signed "Jonathan 
Oldstyle." During these years he spent 
much time in wandering along the banks of the Hud- 




Washington Irving 



and Educa 
tion 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 113 

son, gathering its romantic and legendary lore, by 
means of which he afterward gave to the region im- 
perishable literary associations. In 1804 he was sent 
abroad for a year for his health. He traveled in 
France and Italy, and in Rome made the acquaintance 
of Washington Allston, who nearly persuaded him to 
become an artist. This contact with the art and cul- 
ture of the Old World was an important part of his 
education, leading to the tastes and ideals that charac- 
terized all his literary work. 

Upon his return he was admitted to the bar, but 
preferred to be a " champion at the tea-parties " rather 
than a pleader in the courts. His graceful manners, 
refined tastes, and ready humor made him a universal 
favorite in society. In 1807, in connection with his 
brother William and his friend Paulding, he published 
"Salmagundi, or the Whim-whams and „. ^ 

° ^ First 

Opinions of Launcelot Langstaff, Esq., and Literary 
Others," a series of sparkling and success- 
ful essays in the manner of the " Spectator " and Gold- 
smith's "Citizen of the World." Three years later 
appeared "Knickerbocker's History of New York," a 
masterpiece of delicious and perennial humor, which 
was immediately successful at home and abroad. 
Scott thought it as fine as Dean Swift's best satire, 
read it aloud to his household, and declared, "our 
sides have been absolutely sore with laughter." In- 
tended as a mere burlesque of the pretentious work 
of a local historian, it turned out to be the initial 



114 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

volume of original American literature ; moreover, it 
created the historic New Amsterdam, and the Dutch 
tradition as it is to-day. In this mock-serious descrip- 
tion of the fat, somniferous, waddling Dutch burghers, 
in the good old honest days of the " renowned Wouter 
van Twiller" and "Peter the Headstrong," with his 
silver leg and "brimstone-colored breeches," when 
the " burgomasters, like our aldermen, were generally 
chosen by weight," when " every woman staid at home, 
read the Bible, and wore pockets," and every " goede 
vrouw" made "her husband's linsey-woolsey galligas- 
kins," and when "the truly fashionable gentleman" 
would "manfully sally forth, with pipe in mouth, 
to besiege some fair damsel's obdurate heart," and 
"rarely failed, in the process of time, to smoke the 
fair enemy into a surrender, upon honorable terms," 
Irving somewhat offended the descendants of the old 
Dutch worthies with his irreverent fun-making, but 
the resentment was soon lost in the general laughter. 
While writing this book a heavy bereavement came upon 
him in the death of Matilda Hoffman, to whom he was 
about to be married ; the effects of this event colored 
his whole subsequent life. It " seemed," he once said, 
"to give a turn to my whole character and throw some 
clouds into my disposition which have ever since hung 
about it." 

Irving again went abroad, in 1815, and remained 
seventeen years, spending the greater part of the time 
in England. The poets, Southey, Moore, Campbell, 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 115 

and Rogers were his friends ; his happy memories of 
Scott are preserved in the charming "Recollections 
of Abbotsford"; and his name will always Residence 
be associated with that of Shakspere at in Europe 
Stratford, where mementos of his devoted pilgrim- 
age are still kept sacred in the Red Horse Inn. 
In England he wrote the " Sketch Book/' which ap- 
peared in 1819, introducing the immortal "Rip Van 
Winkle" to the world. This was soon followed by 
" Bracebridge Hall " and " Tales of a Traveler." 
Irving was now famous in two continents. " Geof- 
frey Crayon is the most fashionable fellow of the 
day," said the English painter, Leslie. " His Crayon 
— I know it by heart," said Byron, " his writings are 
my delight." Even the cynical reviewers, who read 
American books only to abuse them, loudly praised 
the " Sketch Book." Indeed, this little volume of 
essays, inspired by scenes upon both sides of the 
ocean, was the first efficacious means of closing the 
breach of enmity and prejudice between England and 
America. 

Three years were spent in Spain, in the preparation 
of the " Life of Columbus." For some time he resided 
in the famous palace of the Alhambra, and obtained 
material for three other works of enduring beauty, 
" The Alhambra," the " Conquest of Granada," and 
" Legends of Spain." In 1830 he was made Secretary 
of Legation at the English court, and was honored 
with the medal of King George from the Royal 



116 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



Society of Literature and the degree of D.C.L. from 
the University of Oxford. Two years later he re- 
Return to turned to America and was received by his 
America admiring countrymen with overwhelming 

enthusiasm. He now established a home upon the 







mm 




tssi^ 





Irving's Home, " Sunnyside " 



Hudson, called " Sunnyside," a pretty stone cottage 
in the Dutch style, "modeled after the cocked hat 
of Peter the Headstrong." Here he spent the next 
ten years in quiet literary labor, producing " Recol- 
lections of Abbotsford and Newstead Abbey," 
"Wolfert's Roost," "Mahomet and his Successors," 



Ill] THE KNICKEKBOCKER WRITERS 117 

the delightful " Life of Goldsmith/' and three vol- 
umes of western adventure. 

During Irving's long residence abroad the settle- 
ment of the great West had been going forward, and 
upon his return he found that the frontier had been 
pushed beyond the Mississippi. Possessed by "a 
great curiosity " to see something of the wild life of 
this vast region that was attracting so western 
much attention, he made a trip to some of Adventure 
the remote trading posts of Missouri and Arkansas. 
This experience was embodied in a "Tour on the 
Prairies," one of our very best records of western 
adventure. A friendship with John Jacob Astor led 
to the writing of " Astoria," an interesting book con- 
structed from the dry commercial records of the set- 
tlement established by Mr. Astor at the mouth of the 
Columbia River. At the house of Mr. Astor, Irving 
met a veteran hunter and trapper, from whom he 
obtained materials for the "Adventures of Captain 
Bonneville," a narrative of thrilling adventure in the 
Eocky Mountains. 

In 1842 Irving received, through the recommenda- 
tion of Daniel Webster, the appointment as Minister 
to Spain ; but the life of courts and palaces had lost 
its charm for him ; after three years he writes : " I 
long to be once more back at dear little Sunnyside, 
while I have yet strength and good spirits to enjoy 
the simple pleasures of the country, and to rally a 
happy family group once more about me. I grudge 



118 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

every year of absence that rolls by." The following 
year '' the impatient longing of his heart was grati- 
fied," says his biographer, "and he found 
himself restored to his home for the thir- 
teen years of happy life still remaining to him." His 
career was fittingly rounded with the publication of 
his " Life of Washington." While the praises of this 
work were loudly sounding death came, November 
28, 1859, and he was buried near Sleepy Hollow, amid 
the scenes loved by him through life and made for- 
ever memorable by his pen. 

The personality of Irving is one of the most lovable 
in our literature, and the presence of this gracious 
personality in his writings is always a refining and 

beneficent influence ; no one reads his 
Personal and ' 

Literary books without being made happier and 

Quail les better. '' Grace of language, chaste and noble 
thought, idealism and romance, a chivalrous regard for 
pure womanhood, genial humor, tenderness and sym- 
pathy were the qualities of both his life and his works. \ 
" His books," says Warner, " are wholesome, full of 
sweetness and charm, of humor without any sting, of 
amusement without any stain." His mind was not 
profound, and he did not discuss the deeper problems 
of life ; an ideal and spiritual simplicity was the rest- 
ful attitude of his thought. His philosophy was one 
of optimism and good cheer, and his attitude toward 
his fellow-men was one of sympathetic interest and 
confidence. " I have always had an opinion," he says. 



in] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 119 

" that much good might be done by keeping mankind 
in good humor with one another ; " and he refused to 
believe " this to be so very bad a world as it is repre- 
sented." His genius was reminiscent and dwelt most 
naturally and contentedly in the fields of history, tra- 
dition, and romance. The enchanted air of Moorish 
Spain was an inspiration to him. Mellow England, 
grown old and rich with history and song, was always 
dear to him. " I cannot describe," he says, " the mute 
but deep-felt enthusiasm with which I have contem- 
plated a vast monastic ruin like Tintern Abbey, buried 
in the bosom of a quiet valley, and shut up from the 
world as though it had existed merely for itself ; or a 
warrior pile, like Conway Castle, standing in stern 
loneliness on its rocky height, a mere hollow yet 
threatening phantom of departed power." But there 
was a past in American history which he loved equally 
well. He did for the region of the Hudson what Scott 
did for his native land, investing it with an atmosphere 
of poetry as distinct and national as that which rests 
upon the Tweed and the banks and braes of Yarrow. 

Thackeray, in his beautiful tribute to Irving, calls 
him " the Goldsmith of our age " ; and Dr. Holmes 
speaks of him as that " pure, tender, play- critical 
ful, loving author, dear to both English Estimates 
worlds, but dearest to us as the day star of our Ameri- 
can literature." " His gifts," says Beers, " were sen- 
timent and humor, with an imagination sufficiently 
fertile, and an observation sufficiently acute to support 



120 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

those two main qualities, but inadequate to the service 
of strong passion or subtle thinking, though his pathos, 
indeed, sometimes reached intensity. His humor was 
always delicate and kindly; his sentiment never 
degenerated into sentimentality." " God bless him ! " 
exclaimed Byron, when reading the " Sketch Book," 
"he is a genius; and he has something better than 
genius — a heart." 

As an essayist Irving was a student of Addison, 
but the essays in the " Sketch Book " and " Brace- 
bridge Hall " are distinguished from their models by 
original qualities quite as clearly as are the essays of 
Goldsmith and Lamb. The essay upon Westminster 
Abbey is as worthy of its noble theme as Addison's 
essay with the same title, and the Christmas sketches 
Essays S^^^ more than they lose by comparison 

and Tales with the Sir Roger de Coverley papers. 
Irving's subjects are generally foreign, but he makes 
them his own by investing them with his fascinating 
individuality. More than by the pure, classic, pol- 
ished language, which so astonished the English 
because written by an American, one is charmed by 
the distinctive atmosphere of the essays. Everything 
is tender, delicate, poetic, and beautiful ; and a gentle 
melancholy as of Indian summer often pervades the 
scenes. The rollicking humor of " Knickerbocker " is 
chastened and refined in the essays, and pathos and 
liumor often mingle like mist and sunshine in autumn 
afternoons. To a writer so filled with poetic and ro- 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 121 

mantic sentiment it was an easy transition from de- 
scriptions of Old World life and rural scenery to 
romantic tales like " Rip Van Winkle," " The Spectre 
Bridegroom," and the " Tales of the Alhambra." So 
excellent was his skill in constructing an artistic 
short story that more credit is due him than has gen- 
erally been given for establishing the type in Ameri- 
can literature. 

Irving's w^ork as a historian and biographer may 
be neglected, but cannot be forgotten. For the schol- 
arly investigation and devotion to minute details, 
characteristic of modern historical writing, his genius 
was not adapted, but in describing great episodes and 
painting stately portraits, colored with all the poetic 
and romantic possibilities of the subject, Asa 
he has had few superiors. "His biogra- Biographer 
phies," says Richard Garnett, " however deficient in re- 
search, bear the stamp of genuine artistic intelligence, 
equally remote from compilation and disquisition. 
In execution they are almost faultless ; the narrative 
is easy, the style pellucid, and the writer's judgment 
nearly always in accordance with the general verdict 
of history. They will not, therefore, be easily super- 
seded, and indeed Irving's productions are in general 
impressed with that signet of classical finish w^hich 
guarantees the permanency of literary work more 
surely than direct utility or even intellectual power." 
One of the biographies is almost unique. The " Life 
of Goldsmith" is a classic that can never lose its 



122 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

charm, perfect in its grace of composition, and perfect 
in its gracious tone and warmth of sympathy. The 
volatile, thriftless, lovable poet was as near to the heart 
of Irving as his own vagabondish Rip Van Winkle. 

"Irving seems to have been born," says Warner, 
" with a rare sense of literary proportion and form ; 
into this as into a mold were run his apparently lazy 
and really acute observations of life." In accounting 
for his style, it is not enough to say that he mastered 
the best English prose of the eighteenth century, 
irving's "There remains a large margin for wonder 

style how, with his want of training, he could 

have elaborated a style which is distinctively his own, 
and is as copious, felicitous in the choice of words, 
flowing, spontaneous, flexible, engaging, clear, and as 
little wearisome when read continuously in quantity 
as any in the English tongue. . This is saying a great 
deal, though it is not claiming for him the compact- 
ness, nor the robust vigor, nor the depth of thought, 
of many other masters in it. It is sometimes praised 
for its simplicity. It is certainly lucid, but its sim- 
plicity is not that of Benjamin Franklin's style ; it is 
often ornate, not seldom somewhat diffuse, and always 
exceedingly melodious. It is noticeable for its meta- 
phorical felicity. But it was not in the sympathetic 
nature of the author to come sharply to the point. 
It is much to have merited the eulogy of Campbell, 
that he had ^ added clarity to the English tongue.' " ^ 
1 Charles Dudley Warner's " Life of Irving," p. 293. 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 123 

Class Study. — Sketch Book : The Voyage ; Rural Life 
in England ; Rip Van Winkle ; Rural Funerals ; The Spectre 
Bridegroom ; Westminster Abbey ; Christmas ; Christmas Eve ; 
Christmas Day ; The Christmas Dinner ; Stratford-on-Avon ; 
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. 

Alhambra : Palace of the Alhambra ; Inhabitants of the 
Alhambra ; Hall of Ambassadors ; Tower of Comares ; Court of 
Lions ; The Moor's Legacy ; The Three Beautiful Princesses ; 
The Rose of the Alhambra. 

Class Reading. — Bracebridge Hall: The Stout Gentle- 
man ; The Hall ; Ready-money Jack ; A Literary Antiquary ; 
St. Mark's Eve ; May Day Customs ; Village Worthies ; The 
Rookery ; The Wedding. 

Crayon Miscellamj : Abbotsford ; Tour on the Prairies. 

Knickerbocker's History of Neio York, Bk. Ill, chaps. 1-4. 

Biography and Criticism. — Pierre M. Irving's "Life of 
Washington Irving." Warner's "Washington Irving" (Amer- 
ican Men of Letters). Hill's " Life of Washington Irving." 
Stoddard's "Biographical Sketch" (Kaaterskill edition). 
" Irvingiana. " Boynton's "Washington Irving" (Riverside 
Biographical Series). Encyclopaedia Britannica, Vol. XIII 
(Richard Garnett). Shepard's "Pen Pictures of Earlier Vic- 
torian Authors." Curtis' s "Literary and Social Essays." 
Thackeray's " Nil Nisi Bonum " {Boundabont Papers, or Har- 
per"* s Monthly, March, 1860). Burton's "Literary Likings." 
Mitchell's "Bound Together." "Studies of Irving" by 
Warner, Bryant, and Putnam. Warner's "The Work of 
Washington Irving." Bryant's "Orations and Addresses." 
Richardson's "American Literature." Howells's " My Liter- 
ary Passions." Saunders's " Character Studies." Lowell's 
" Fable for Critics." Library of the World's Best Literature. 
The Critic, March 31, 1883 (Irving Centenary Number). 
Hazlitt's " Spirit of the Age." Jeffrey's " Bracebridge Hall " 
(Modern British Essayists). Wendell's "Literary History of 
America." Longfellow's " In the Churchyard at Tarry town." 



124 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

James Kirke Paulding, living's relative by marriage 

and partner in the " Salmagundi " papers, was born 

near New York, in 1779. His father, whose house 

stood " within the lines," sacrificed his large property 

to the patriot cause. His education was obtained in 

^ a " loo[ hut " and " cost first and last," he 

James K. '-' ' 

Paulding, says, " about fifteen dollars, certainly quite 
1779-1 o ^^ much as it was worth." At nineteen he 
became associated with the Irvings, and in a few years 
was successfully engaged with humorous and satirical 
writing. Eor twelve years he held a government 
position at the port of New York, and was Secretary 
of the Navy under Van Buren. His pleasant home, 
" Placentia," was at Hyde Park on the Hudson, where 
he died in 1860. 

At the beginning of the War of 1812 Paulding wrote 
'' The Diverting History of John Bull and Brother 
Jonathan," a satire in the style of Arbuthnot, which 
was very popular in both countries, and " The Lay of 
the Scotch Fiddle," a parody upon Scott's " Lay of 
Satirical *^^ ItSiSt Minstrel," satirizing the English 
Works operations in Chesapeake Bay. " John 

Bull in America " and " The Traveler's Guide " were 
clever burlesques upon English ignorance and preju- 
dice and the guidebook grandiloquence of the day. 
" Letters from the South by a Northern Man " con- 
tain good descriptions of scenery in the Old Dominion. 
In 1818 " The Backwoodsman " appeared, a poem in 
six books and three thousand verses of the stereotyped 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 125 

heroic measure ; but it was only a nine days' wonder. 
His claim with posterity as a poet rests solely upon 
his familiar — 

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, 

found in the novel " Koningsmarke," a burlesque upon 
Cooper's " Pioneers." His " Westward Ho " is in- 
teresting as a picture of frontier life in Kentucky, 
and his "Life of Washington" was excellent in its 
day. The only book that still lives is " The Dutch- 
man's Fireside," which reached a wdde and worthy 
fame. Here Paulding described the whimsical char- 
acteristics of early Dutch times, the poetic beauties of 
the Hudson, the adventurous experiences of pioneer 
life, and the ominous depths of the neighboring 
wilderness with an affectionate fidelity akin to 
Irving's. 

Paulding complained in old age : " The world has 
not done me justice as an author." This is perhaps 
true, but his satirical " whim-whams " and breezy 
Brother-Jonathanism were in their nature ephemeral. 
His writing lacks substance and the finish of style 
necessary to permanency, and his humor is too gen- 
erally boisterous and unrefined. He was always a 
pioneer, and never outgrew the crudeness of his ex- 
uberant Americanism; in this he is a contrast to 
Irving, who cultivated his art in all its refinements 
under the combined influence of old England and new 
America. 



126 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Many books of this period of pioneer authorship, though of 
meagre literary merit, possess a permanent historic interest. 
Their authors, while writing very indifferent fiction, often 
unconsciously wrote very good history ; and from the yellow 
pages of these forgotten volumes may be gathered excellent 
material for the history of frontier civilization. Wilson's 
appreciative characterization inclines one to brush the dust 
from some of these old-time favorites. "Miss Sedgwick 
(' Hope Leslie,' 'The Linwoods ') has given us many charming 
pictures of primitive customs and feelings in New England ; 
Descriptions Mrs. Kirkland (' A New Home : Who'll Fol- 
of Frontier low,' 'Forest Life,' 'Western Clearings') de- 
^if® scribed with great truthfulness the new homes 

of Michigan; Judge Hall ('Legends of the West,' 'Letters 
from the West ') successfully delineated the border expe- 
riences of Illinois; Doctor Bird ('Nick of the Woods') has 
given us graphic sketches of pioneer life in Kentucky ; Ken- 
nedy portrayed life in the ' Old Dominion ' ; Simms has 
written many inimitable chapters ct5ncerning the early days 
of the Carolinas ; Judge Longs^reet ('Georgia Scenes') held 
a mirror up to nature in his humorous and graphic Georgia 
scenes; and Thorpe ('The Hive of the Bee Hunter') lifted 
the veil from the lodge of the hunter in the southwest ; but we 
may safely affirm that none of these local pictures surpass 
in minute truthfulness and interest Mr. Paulding's delightful 
sketches of colonial life in New York during the days of the 
French War, as described in the ' Dutchman's Fireside.' It 
will not abuse any man's leisure to read this admirable descrip- 
tion of the genuine simplicity of life in New York a hundred 
and twenty-five years ago. Some of the old mansions of the 
Schuylers and Van Rensselaers still remain with us ; but the 
actors and customs of those Doric days, to use a favorite phrase 
of our author, have passed away forever." i 

1 James Grant Wilson's " Bryant and his Friends," p. 141. 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 12T 

WILLIAM CULLEN BRYANT 

1794-1878 

William Cullen Bryant was bora at Cummington, 
Mass., November 3, 1794. He traced his ancestry on 
both sides directly to the Pilgrims of Plymouth. His 
mother was a descendant of the famous John Alden, 
through whom he could claim kinship with Long- 
fellow; to her was due much of the lofty integrity 
of his character. To the father, who was a physician 
much esteemed for his learning, he owed his poetic 
impulse ; it was he who 

taught my youth 
The art of verse, and in the bud of Hfe 
Offered me to the muses. 

At sixteen he entered Williams College, then an 
institution consisting of a president, one professor, 
and two tutors. There he remained but seven months, 
owing to the limited means of his father; he then 
studied law, and until 1825 maintained a successful 
practice at Great Barrington. 

Bryant began verse-making in his eighth year, with 
a paraphrase of the first chapter of Job and a poetical 
address before his school. In his thirteenth year he 
produced a political satire of over five hundred lines, 
entitled "The Embargo, or Sketches of the Times," 
which received the honor of publication. Before he 
was sixteen he had written more than forty pieces of 



128 AMEKICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

verse, all imitative of the prevailing English models, 
and containing no suggestion of the qualities that 
Early Verse- were soon to characterize him as a poet. 
making j^ 1810, the year he entered college, he 

came upon Wordsworth's '' Lyrical Ballads," which 
had appeared in 1798; here he found for the first 
time poetic expression of his own undefined feeling 
for nature. " Upon opening the book," he says, " a 
thousand springs seemed to gush up at once in my 
heart, and the face of nature of a sudden to change 
into a strange freshness and life." 

It was his habit, early formed and continued through 
life, whenever he could " steal an hour from study 
and care," to roam alone in the fields and " pathless 
woods," listening long 

To winds that brought into tlieir silent depths 
The murmurs of the mountain waterfalls. 

With Wordsworth as his teacher he now learned 
rapidly that " various language " of nature, of which 
he was soon to give a sublime interpretation. It was 
during one of these solitary rambles, in 1811, that 
Communion " Thanatopsis " was composed, probably 
with Nature ^]^e grandest poem ever written by so 
young a poet. Contrary to his custom, he did not 
give it to his father for criticism, but hid it in a desk 
where six years later it was found by Dr. Bryant, and 
published in the North American Review, During the 
year 1821 he was married to the " fairest of the rural 



Ill] 



THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 



129 



maids," wrote his longest poem, "The Ages," for a 
meeting of the Phi Beta Kappa society of Harvard, 
and published his first collection of x^oems, only eight 
in all, but such poems as had never been written in 
America. As 
this little vol- 
ume of forty- 
four pages is 
one of the 
chief founda- 
tion-stones in 
the structure 
of our national 
literature, it is 
of interest to 
know the titles 
of these eight 
poems. They 
are, "The 
Ages," "To a 
Waterfowl," 
" Fragment 
from Simoni- 




William Cullen Bryant 



des," "Inscription for the Entrance to a Wood," " The 
Yellow Violet," "The Song," "Green E,iver," and 
" Thanatopsis." Five of these poems represent the 
highest reach of Bryant's genius. The little book 
found readers even in England, and a writer in Black- 
wood graciously admitted : " Bryant is no mean poet." 



130 AMERICAN LITERATURE [ghap. 

Bryant was ill at ease in his profession, conscious 

of a perversion of his poetic nature in being " forced 

to drudge for the dregs of men," and therefore in 1825 

he abandoned the law, went to New York as a " literary 

adventurer," became editor of the New York Mevieiv, 

and soon after editor-in-chief of the Even- 

Journalism . ^ _ , . . ^ . ^ 

mg Post, m which position he remained 

during his life. As a journalist he achieved wide 

influence and honor by the steady endeavor to lift the 

ideals of politics and citizenship. A second volume 

of poems was published in 1832, which was reprinted 

in England through the kind offices of Washington 

Irving, and won the reluctant praise of the English 

critics. Wordsworth, it is said, learned "Thana- 

topsis" by heart. Henceforth until the last year of 

his life new poems appeared at infrequent intervals, 

in which were always repeated with new beauties the 

same sublime harmonies of nature and the soul with 

which his youth had been enchanted. He was an 

eager traveler, and made six visits to the Old World, 

the literary fruits of which were, besides a few short 

poems, "Letters of a Traveler" and "Letters from 

the East." These, with a volume of "Orations and 

Addresses," constitute his prose works. 

In 1866 occurred the death of his wife, who for 

forty years had been " the brightness of his life " ; 

this event is the theme of the pathetic 
Last Years 

poem, " October, 1866." Partly as a means 
of combating this grief he made his translation of 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 131 

Homer, which is probably on the whole the best com- 
plete metrical version of the " Iliad " and " Odyssey " 
in the language. After this crowning achievement 
his life passed, as he had hoped, " in long serenity 
away." Always an active supporter of public move- 
ments for promoting art, literature, or benevolence, he 
was frequently called by his fellow-citizens to assume 
the chief honor at public festivals. While performing 
such a duty, the delivery of an address at the unveil- 
ing of a statue to Mazzini in Central Park, he was 
stricken by the heat of the sun, and died a few days 
later, June 12, 1878. The end came, as he had fanci- 
fully wished fifty-three years before, "in flowery 
June," the season of 

Soft airs, and song, and light, and bloom, 

Bryant is a poet of narrow limitations, both in the 
scope and variety of themes, and in the methods of 
treatment, but within his limitations he is a master. 
Although often urged by his friends to write a long 
poem, something large like an epic or drama, he was 
never tempted into these broader and more alluring 
fields. His poems are all short, their average length 
being only seventy -five lines ; the volume of his 
work is small, only about two hundred poems in 
all; and the whole is characterized by a uniform 
excellence that evinces the constant exercise of ar- 
tistic restraint. There was no expansion of his 
genius, the tone and quality of his poetry did not 



132 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

change; in "The Flood of Years," written in his 

eighty-second year, the solemn cadences of "Thana- 

topsis " were repeated. His thought dwells habitually 

upon the sublimity of nature, and its relations to the 

transitory life of man. Nearly three fourths of his 

poems are direct suggestions from nature. To her 

shrine he would retreat whenever from the turmoil 

of the business world he sought relief in the solemn 

services of song. 

AVhile I stood 
In Nature's loveliness, I was with one 
With whom I early grew familiar, — one 
Who never had a frown for me, whose voice 
Never rebuked me for the hour I stole 
From cares I loved not, but of which the world 
Deems highest, to converse with her. 

He has been called the " American Wordsworth," but 
the epithet is only measurably correct ; the two poets 
Poetic worship in the same temple, but each in a 

Qualities manner quite his own. Stedman better 
calls him " a philosophic minstrel of the woods and 
waters, the foremost of American landscape poets." 
Simplicity is the most obvious quality of his work, a 
simplicity made impressive by perfection of work- 
manship. His thoughts are common, and the subjects 
of his meditations familiar, but in his treatment the 
universal experiences of life, death, and nature be- 
come profound. The attitude of his thought is one 
of calm, austere resignation, like the " steady gaze " 
of his North star in its " cold skies." Compare " To 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 133 

a Waterfowl " with Shelley's " Skylark '' ; the one is 
tranquil contemplation, the other is restless, passion- 
ate aspiration. There is no rapture in his song, no 
swift ecstasy of ideal delight. Nature to him is a 
stately cathedral, in the cool depths of whose aisles 
he meditates his deep-voiced harmonies. Now and 
then his fancy could be happily playful, as in the 
" Planting of the Apple Tree," and the " Wind and 
Stream " ; and upon the commonest flowers of the 
woods his best lyric gift was bestowed. He is the 
poet of the " Yellow Violet " and the " Fringed Gen- 
tian," as Emerson is the poet of the " Rhodora," and 
he knew as only a poet can know 

All the flowers 
That tuft the woodland floor, or overarch 
The streamlet. 

His language is simple Saxon speech, used with its 
best grace, beauty, and strength. His verse, always 
technically correct, flows as smoothly and musically 
as the pebbly brooks he loved, and always 

Pure as the dew that filters through the rose. 

Two verse forms were his favorites, the iambic qua- 
train in eight-syllabled lines, as in ^' A Day Dream," 
occasionally varied as in "Autumn Woods," Bryant's 
and blank verse, in which he achieved Blank verse 
his masterpieces; only in the latter was he truly 
original. 



134 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

The hills 
Rock-ribbed and ancient as the sun ; the vales 
Stretching in pensive quietness between ; 
The venerable woods ; rivers that move 
In majesty, and the complaining brooks 
That make the meadows green; and, poured round all, 
Old ocean's gray and melancholy waste, — 
Are but the solemn decorations all 
Of the great tomb of man. 

This is magnificent harmony; thought, words, and 
music are in perfect accord. It is not necessary to 
bring Milton and Wordsv^^orth into the comparison to 
perceive the lofty distinction of such verse as that of 
" Thanatopsis," " A Forest Hymn," and '' The Flood 
of Years." Of his blank verse Stedman says : " The 
essence of its cadence, pauses, rhythm, should be 
termed American, and it is the best ever written in the 
New World. Blank verse is the easiest and the most 
difficult of all measures ; the poorest in poor hands ; 
the finest when written by a true poet. Whoever 
essays it is a poet disrobed; he must rely upon his 
natural gifts ; his defects cannot be hidden. In this 
measure Bryant was at his height, and he owes to it 
the most enduring portion of his fame. However 
narrow his range, we must own that he was first in 
the first. He reached the upper air at once in ^ Than- 
atopsis,' and again and again, though none too fre- 
quently, he renewed his flights, and, like his own 
waterfowl, pursued his ' solitary way.' " 

In view of the prevailing influence of the conven- 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 135 

tional eighteenth-century poetry, it is somewhat 
surprising that Bryant, even with the aid of Words- 
worth, broke away so boldly from the school of Pope. 
There are traces of English influence in his work; 
even " Thanatopsis " owes something to so crude a 
poem as Blair's "Grave." But the little Bryant's 
volume of 1821 and its companions of Americanism 
1832 and 1836 are quite as indicative of an awakened 
spirit of literary independence as Emerson's " Amer- 
ican Scholar." Bryant discovered poetry in the se- 
vere aspects of his New England surroundings, and 
became at once original and American. " He is orig- 
inal because he is sincere," said Emerson, "a true 
painter of the face of the country and of the senti- 
ment of his own people. It is his proper praise that 
he first, and he only, made known to mankind our 
northern landscape, its summer splendor, its autumn 
russet, its winter lights and glooms." Curtis re- 
garded his poetry as "intensely and distinctively 
American. He was a man of scholarly accomplish- 
ments, familiar with other languages and literature. 
But there is no tone or taste of anything not pecul- 
iarly American in his poetry. It is as characteristic 
as the wine of the Catawba grape." 

In a final summary of his qualities, Curtis says: 
"The genius of Bryant, not profuse and imperial, 
neither intense with dramatic passion nor throbbiug 
with lyrical fervor, but calm, meditative, pure, has its 
true symbol among his native hills, a mountain 



136 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

spring untainted by mineral or slime of earth or rep- 
tile venom, cool, limpid, and serene. His verse is the 
Curtis's virile expression of the healthy commun- 

Estimate jqj-,^ Qf ^ strong, sound man with the famil- 
iar aspects of nature, and its broad, clear, open-air 
quality has a certain Homeric suggestiveness. It is 
not the poetry of an eager enthusiasm ; it is not fas- 
cinating and overpowering to the sensibility of youth. 
It is the essentially meditative character which makes 
the atmosphere of his poetic world more striking than 
its forms; and thus his contribution of memorable 
lines to our literature is not great, although there are 
some lines of unsurpassed majesty, and again touches 
of fancy and imagination as airy and delicate as the 
dance of fairies upon a moonlit lawn." 

Class Study. — Thanatopsis ; To a Waterfowl ; Autumn 
Woods ; Evening Wind ; Hymn to the North Star ; Inscription 
for the Entrance to a Wood ; The Death of the Flowers ; The 
Past ; Robert of Lincoln ; To the Fringed Gentian ; The Planting 
of the Apple Tree ; Our Fellow Worshipers ; The West Wind ; 
The Wind and Stream ; A Forest Hymn. 

Class Reading. — June ; Hymn to Death ; The Land of 
Dreams ; Song of Marion's Men ; The Crowded Street ; The 
Antiquity of Freedom; "Oh Mother of a Mighty Race" ; A 
Day Dream ; Life ; The Stream of Life ; The Little People 
of the Snow; The Snow Shower; "Oh Fairest of the Rural 
Maids " ; October; The Battle Field ; The Song of the Sower ; 
The Flood of Years. 

Biography and Criticism. — Godwin's "Life of William 
Cullen Bryant." Bigelow's " William Cullen Bryant" (Amer- 
ican Men of Letters) . Symington's ' ' William Cullen Bryant. ' ' 
Hill's "Life of William Cullen Bryant." Wilson's "Bryant 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 137 

and his Friends." Stedman's "Poets of America." Whip- 
ple's "Literature and Life." Curtis's "Orations and Ad- 
dresses," Vol. III. Richardson's "American Literature." 
Wilkinson's "A Free Lance in the Field of Life and Let- 
ters." Wendell's "Literary History of America." Lowell's 
" Fable for Critics. " Saunders's " Character Studies." God- 
win's "Out o;f the Past." Deshler's "Afternoons with the 
Poets." 

Poets' Tributes. —Stoddard's "The Dead Master," " Vates 
Patriae," and "AtRoslyn." Holmes's " Bryant's Seventieth 
Birthday." Lowell's " On Board the 76." Whittier's "Bry- 
ant on his Birthday." Taylor's "Epicedium" and "Chant 
for the Bryant Festival." Julia Ward Howe's "A Leaf from 
the Bryant Chaplet." Stedman's "The Death of Bryant." 



HALLECK, DRAKE, AND DANA 

Fitz-G-reene Halleck was born in Guilford, Conn., 
in 1790. He began rhyming, we are told, as soon as 
he had learned to write. " He couldn't help it," said 
a schoolmate. At fifteen he became a bookkeeper in 
one of the village stores, and at twenty-one found 
employment in a New York banking house. For 
sixteen years he was in the office of John p^t^-oreene 
Jacob Astor, who at his death, in 1848, Haiieck, 
left him an annuity of some "forty ^^^°~^ ^ 
pounds a year." Upon this modest fortune he re- 
tired to his native town, where he died, in 1867. A 
fine monument was erected over his grave and dedi- 
cated upon the eightieth anniversary of his birth, the 
first honor of the kind ever bestowed upon the memory 
of an American poet. 



138 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

It may be doubtful whether Halleck's name is 

One of the few, the immortal names 
That were not born to die, 

but the poem that closes with these lines, " Marco 
Bozzaris," is likely long to hold a place of honor in 
our literature. In 1822 a visit to Europe inspired 
'' Alnwick Castle " and '' Burns/' and in 1827 the first 
collection of his poems was published. Halleck and 
Drake were devoted friends, " the Damon and Pythias 
of American poets " ; in 1819 they wrote together the 
" Croaker Papers," humorous and satirical poems upon 
the men and manners of New York society, published 
in the Eveniyig Post and signed "Croaker & Co." 
These bright but flashy papers delighted the town 
for a time with their novel and witty rhymes and then 
were quickly forgotten. No elegy is more deservedly 
popular than the simple and tender poem "On the 
Death of Drake," beginning : — 

Green be the turf above thee, 

Friend of my better days ! 
None knew thee but to love thee, 

Nor named thee but to praise. 

The generous praises bestowed upon Halleck are 
somewhat out of proportion to his real merits; but 
there was that humane and sympathetic "touch of 
nature " in the man and his verses that " makes the 
whole world kin." His friend Joseph Rodman Drake, 
though a much less popular favorite, was a much 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 139 

finer poet. He was born in New York in 1795. 
When five years old, it is said, he wrote conundrums 
in verse, and promising poems at ten. He x^g j^ ^q^_ 
studied medicine and became a druggist, man Drake, 
At twenty-one he wrote " The Culprit ^^^^'^ *° 
Fay," upon which his reputation chiefly rests. In a 
discussion with Cooper, Halleck, and others, it was 
maintained that American streams furnish no such 
possibilities of poetry as the legend-haunted streams 
of Scotland; Drake dissented, and to support his 
position, in three days produced his exquisite poem 
with its scene laid in the Highlands of the Hudson. 
It is a dainty fairy tale, told in melodious verse, with 
airy gracefulness of scene and imagery. Halleck pro- 
nounced it " the best thing of the kind in the English 
language." His stirring lyric, " The American Flag," 
is " certainly," says Beers, " the most spirited thing of 
the kind in our poetic literature." The early death of 
Drake was a serious loss to our literature, for there 
was great promise in what he did. His fine-souled, 
poetic nature drew to itself strong attachments. 
" There will be less sunshine for me hereafter," said 
Halleck, " now that Joe is gone." 

In 1825, in the first number of the New York Review, 
edited by Bryant, Eichard Henry Dana's earliest 
poem, " The Dying Raven," appeared in company with 
" Marco Bozzaris." Dana was born in Boston in 1787, 
and died in 1879. Born with the Constitution and 
before Byron, Keats, and Shelley, he lived through 



140 . AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the administratioil of Grant and saw the best work of 
Tennyson completed. He spent three years at 
Harvard, practiced law for a few years, was one of the 
founders and editors of the North American Review, 
took part in the bitter Unitarian controversy against 
Richard ^^^ cousin, Dr. Channing, but led mainly 

Henry Dana, the meditative life of a literary recluse. In 
1787-1879 ^g21 he began publishing The Idle Man 
in New York, a periodical of essays much like the 
^' Sketch Book," to which Bryant and Allston con- 
tributed poems. It was too refined to be successful, 
and only seven numbers appeared. In 1827 his little 
volume, " The Buccaneer, and Other Poems," appeared. 
A course of lectures on Shakspere, given in several 
cities in 1839, the Shaksperian scholar, Yerplanck, 
thought '^ should be cherished as among the finest 
fruits of American scholarship, genius, and critical 
ability." 

Dana was a poet by right of descent from Anne 
Bradstreet, as well as by inherent gifts. But his 
muse was too grave and contemplative to be popular. 
A few delicate lyrics like "The Little Beach Bird" 
have a permanent beauty. " The Buccaneer," though 
containing passages of fine poetry, is too severe in 
both style and feeling, lacking the simplicity and 
fluency of Coleridge's " Ancient Mariner," by which it 
was inspired. Dana once remarked that for the 
literary work of thirty years he had received " less than 
four hundred dollars." His influence, as poet and 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 141 

critic, was exerted chiefly in giving to his fellow- 
authors lessons of taste and independence. For this 
he deserves to remain ^^ one of the prominences of our 
literature.'^ 

The united achievement of these three poets was 
meager in amount, but each produced something that 
still lives, enough to show that they had caught a 
spark at least of the divine fire, and had felt its glow. 
The poets of the Revolutionary group were poets only 
by virtue of their patriotic energy and ^^^y^^f 
patient imitation of poor models. Halleck the Pioneer 
and his friends made a long stride toward 
original and self-reliant poetry. The Romantic School 
in England inspired, but did not dominate, them. 
Dana was attracted to Coleridge ; in Halleck's poems 
there were echoes of Byron; Drake wished that he 
might '^ lie stretched upon a rainbow with Tom Camp- 
bell in his hand." In Bryant's early poetry and 
Dana's prose criticism, Wordsworth's sublime mes- 
sage was first clearly reported in the New World. 

"The poetic literature of a land," wrote Bayard 
Taylor, '4s the finer and purer ether above its mate- 
rial growth and the vicissitudes of its history. Where 
it was vacant and barren for us, except, perchance, 
a feeble lark-note here and there, Dana, Halleck, and 
Bryant rose together on steadier wings, and gave 
voices to the solitude — Dana with a broad, grave 
undertone, like that of the sea ; Bryant with a sound 
as of the wind in summer woods, and the fall of 



142 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

waters in mountain-dells ; and Halleck with strains 
blown from a silver trumpet, breathing manly fire 
and courage. Many voices have followed theirs ; the 
ether rings with new melodies ; but we shall not for- 
get the forerunners who rose in advance of their wel- 
come, and created their own audience by their songs." 

Class Reading. — Halleck's "Marco Bozzaris"; "On the 
Death of Drake " ; " Burns " ; "Alnwick Castle " ; " Connecti- 
cut." Drake's " American Flag ";" The Culprit Fay." Dana's 
' ' The Little Beach Bird " ; " The Moss Supplicateth for the Poet.' ' 

Biography and Criticism. — Bryant's "Orations and Ad- 
dresses" (Halleck). Wilson's "Life of Halleck" and "Bryant 
and his Friends." Taylor's "Essays and Notes." Whipple's 
"Essays and Reviews," Vol. II (Dana). Atlantic Monthly, 
June, 1877 (Halleck). Poe's " Literati." Lowell's " Fable for 
Critics." Whittier's "Fitz-Greene Halleck." 

Some of the minor writers of the Knickerbocker group are 
remembered only through single famous pieces. Samuel Wood- 
worth (1785-1842), a journalist and writer of patriotic songs 
and odes during the War of 1812, is known only by his 
"Old Oaken Bucket." James Fenno Hoffman (1806-1884), 
founder of the Knickerbocker Magazine, wrote " Sparkling and 
Bright" and the spirited " Monterey." George Perkins Mor- 
ris (1802-1864), editor, with Willis, of the Mirror and the 
Home Journal^ a lesser Tom Moore in his day, whose songs 
were universally admired, is now remembered as 

^^l ^ the author of "Woodman, Spare that Tree." 
Members of 

the Choir John Howard Payne (1791-1852) was a success- 

ful actor and playwright. During a wandering 
life in Europe he wrote numerous dramatic pieces, in one of 
which, " Clari," an opera, appeared the immortal "Home, 
Sweet Home," which, it is said, made the fortune of every one 
connected with it except the author. The song was written in 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 143 

a room in the Palais Royal, Paris. After his thirteenth year 
the author never enjoyed the blessings of home, of which> he 
sang with such sweet pathos. He died at Tunis, Africa, and 
his ashes now rest in Oak Hill Cemetery, Washington, beneath 
a noble monument. Gulian Crommelin Verplanck (1786-1870) 
was the scholarly editor of Shakspere and friend of Bryant, with 
whom he was associated in editing " The Talisman," an annual 
that enjoyed a sunny nook in that period of our literature. 
Alfred Billings Street (1811-1881), author of "Frontenac," was 
praised by Longfellow, Bryant, and Whipple for the fidelity 
and vividness of his descriptions of nature. Henry Theodore 
Tuckerman (1813-1871), a pleasant essayist, was the author of 
" Characteristics of Literature," " Thoughts on the Poets," and 
many other volumes of sketches and poems. 

Several Connecticut poets of this period reached a fame 
through the "Annuals" and the New York journals that was 
once received as evidence of genius. John Pierpont (1785-1866), 
poet, preacher, and philanthropist, and chaplain in the Civil 
War at the age of seventy-six, gave us the sturdy " Warren's 
Address," and the meritorious "Passing Away," "Pilgrim 
Fathers," and " My Child." James Abraham Hillhouse (1789- 
1841) was one of the earliest poets in America to write a poetic 
drama. In 1839 he published "Dramas, Discourses, and Other 
Pieces," in which the influence of Byron is easily traced. 
James Gates Percival (1795-1857), physician, geologist, and 
linguist, was once assumed to be a great poet by virtue of 
profuse rhyming. "He is pertinaciously and unappeasedly 
dull," says Lowell, "he never in his life wrote a remember- 
able verse." A few short pieces, however, as "To Seneca 
Lake," and "The Coral Grove," are still familiar and of 
worth. Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865) wrote verse and 
prose to the extent of fifty-six volumes. Her blank verse, 
studied after Bryant, is not without merit, as in "Niagara." 
The principle of her literary work was, she says, "to aim at 
being an instrument of good," and this aim she undoubtedly 
realized. 

Among these "gentle stars of the East " there were in Bos- 



144 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

ton, besides Dana, Charles Sprague (1791-1875), a prominent 
banker, whose "Shakspere Ode," "The Winged Worshipers," 
and "Ode to Art" have had a wide reading-book celebrity; 
Washington Allston (1779-1843), one of the earliest propaga- 
tors of culture in America, esteemed as " the greatest of Ameri- 
can painters," a graceful versifier, lecturer on art, and author 
of the romance "Monaldi," which Whipple thinks deserves a 
"permanent place in our literature" ; and Epes Sargent (1813- 
1880), an author and compiler of many books, who will be 
remembered for the song, "A Life on. the Ocean Wave." 
Maria Brooks (1795-1845) published in Boston, in 1825, " Zo- 
phiel ; or, the Bride of Seven," on the strength of which the 
poet Southey pronounced her "the most impassioned and 
most imaginative of all poetesses." This highly colored East- 
ern romance, in its theme similar to Moore's "Loves of the 
Angels," founded on a story in the Apocryphal book of Tobit, 
is an interesting but decadent product of the English romantic 
school. Many other minor singers there were in this period, 
whose rushlight fame, bright for a little time, has disappeared 
in dusky oblivion. The memory of one of these, however, 
Samuel Francis Smith (1808-1895), will be kept green, for in 
1832 he wrote our one fine national hymn, " America." 



JAMES FENIMORE COOPER 

1789-1851 

The beautiful village of Cooperstown, New York, 
one hundred years ago was a small settlement upon 
the very borderland of American civilization. Beyond 
stretched vast, unexplored forests that echoed the 
sounds of Indians and wild animals still undisturbed 
by the white man's gun. Here James Fenimore 
Cooper spent his boyhood, feeding his imagination 



Ill] 



THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 



145 



with the beauty and mystery of the primeval wilder- 
ness and laying in rich stores of romantic experience 
to be used later in those remarkable forest tales that 
still captivate each succeeding generation of young 
readers in all parts of the globe. 

Cooper was born in Burlington, New Jersey, Sep- 
tember 15, 1789. The following year his father 
removed to his large es- 
tates on the shores of 
Otsego lake, and became 
the founder and leading 
citizen of the town named 
in his honor. A reminis- 
cence of his manorial emi- 
nence is preserved in the 
character of " Judge Tem- 
ple" in "The Pioneers." 
James entered Yale Col- 
lege at thirteen, was dis- 
missed during the third 
year for misconduct, and 
in 1806 entered the navy, 
serving at first as a common sailor and reaching finally 

the rank of lieutenant. For a time he 

, „ - „ -, Early Years 

was stationed at Oswego, then a few rude 

houses in the wilderness, and there became familiar 
with the scenes so vividly pictured in " The Path- 
finder." His naval career was cut short by marriage 
in 1811, after which for several years he lived in the 




James Fenimore Cooper 



146 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

vicinity of New York city, his unsettled pursuits and 
tastes giving no intimation of his future work. 

His career of authorship began in a trifling inci- 
dent. While reading a novel to his wife he remarked 
that he believed he could write a better novel himself ; 
urged to the proof, he soon produced his first work, 
Beginning of "Precaution," published in 1820. It was 
Authorship ^ sentimental story in imitation of the 
fashionable English novel of the period, dealing with 
English society life of which the writer was entirely 
ignorant, and worthless as a work of art; but its 
reception by his friends and the public encouraged 
him to a second trial. Accordingly in 1821 — the 
year which saw Bryant's first volume of poems — ''The 
Spy," a tale of the Eevolution, appeared. This 
met with instantaneous success, in Europe as well 
as at home, and established the author's reputa- 
tion. He had found his talent, and from an amateur 
farmer he was suddenly transformed into a famous 
author. 

Cooper's genius was limited to two sources of in- 
spiration, his early familiarity with frontier life and 
his experience on the ocean. With the exception of 
"The Spy," and parts of one or two other historical 
stories, Jiis books made from other material than 
these romantic and cherished associations are com- 
sources of paratively worthless. In 1823 he published 
Inspiration u tj^q Pioneers," the first of the "Leather 
Stocking" series, in which the scenery of his early 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 147 

home is described with a fullness and fondness that 
somewhat injure it as a story. He wrote it "to 
please himself," he says ; but the public received it 
with unbounded enthusiasm. Thackeray pronounced 
" Leather Stocking " to be " the great prize-man of fic- 
tion." Equal success the next year attended "The 
Pilot," through which Cooper became the creator of 
the sea novel, a department of fiction in which he has 
had hosts of imitators, but hardly an equal, and no 
superior. The leading figure of this novel he drew 
from the famous Revolutionary hero, John Paul Jones. 
This was followed by " Lionel Lincoln," dealing with 
New England life and scenes at the opening of the 
Eevolution, and " The Last of the Mohicans," one of 
his Indian masterpieces. 

In 1826 he went to Europe, where he resided seven 
years, mainly in France and Italy. During this 
period he wrote "The Prairie," the most poetical 
of the " Leather Stocking " tales, " Red Foreign 
Rover," the finest of the sea tales, "Wept Residence 
of Wish-ton-Wish," a story of the New Englanders' 
struggles with the Indians, and " The Water Witch " ; 
also " The Bravo," a story of Venice, and two other 
stories of little value, dealing with European politics 
and exalting the virtues of democracy, and a book 
entitled "Notions of the Americans," intended to 
combat the ignorance and prejudice concerning this 
country, which everywhere, especially in England, 
offended his sensitive Americanism. This patriotic 



148 American literature [chap. 

attempt succeeded, however, only in making enemies 
for the author on both sides of the water. 

Cooper now divided the honors of American author- 
ship with Washington Irving. His books sold in 
numbers that would be astonishing even to-day with 
a vastly increased reading public. They were pub- 
lished simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic, 

and translated immediately into all the 
Popularity 

cultivated languages of Europe. Of all the 

books of other American authors only " Uncle Tom's 
Cabin" ever reached so wide a celebrity. His plots 
were dramatized for the stage and his scenes put upon 
canvas by the painters. No author, except Sir Walter 
Scott, approached him in popularity. In 1833 Morse, 
the inventor of the telegraph, wrote : " In every city 
of Europe that I visited, the works of Cooper were 
conspicuously placed in the windows of every book- 
shop. They are published as soon as he produces 
them in thirty-four different places in Europe. They 
have been seen by American travelers in the lan- 
guages of Turkey and Persia, in Constantinople, in 
Egypt, at Jerusalem, at Ispahan." 

Soon after his return to America he settled in his 
old home, " Otsego Hall," where he spent the remainder 
of his life. Several volumes of European travel now 
appeared, and the valuable "History of the United 
States Navy," and " Lives of Distinguished 
American Naval Officers." His productive 
energy was marvelous ; in all, he wrote nearly one 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 149 

hundred volumes. Between 1840 and 1850 he produced 
seventeen works of fiction, the best of which are " The 
Deerslayer " and " The Pathfinder," two of the finest 
products of his genius. These completed the series of 
"Leather Stocking " tales. Of the other novels of this 
period the most noteworthy are " The Two Admirals," 
a story of the British navy in the colonial period, 
" Mercedes of Castile," in which the story of Columbus 
is worked over with indifferent success, " Wyandotte," 
a dull tale of the Ee volution, and two interesting 
stories dealing with early New York history, "The 
Chainbearer" and "Satanstoe." All that he wrote 
after the appearance of these books added nothing to 
his fame as an author, but he continued to pour forth 
fiction with unabated zeal until the last year of life. 
For many years Cooper was involved in a bitter con- 
troversy with the press, the history of which must 
always remain a disgraceful stain upon the fame of 
American journalism. In a series of satirical novels, 
particularly " Homeward Bound " and " Home as 
Found," he attempted to improve the manners of his 
countrymen, whose general crudeness was an unpleasant 
contrast to the grace, culture, and dignity of the Old 
World. There was much truth in what he said, but 

much offense in the manner of sayinsr it; ^ ^ 

'^ '^ ' Controversy 

he lacked the humor necessary to make his with the 
instruction palatable. Critics resented his ^"^^^'^ 
satire, impugned his motives, and basely assailed his 
character. As fearless a fighter as any of his heroes, he 



150 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

carried on the contest single-handed, through innumer- 
able libel suits, to final triumph. But it was a barren 
victory, merely proving him to be the best hater and 
most thoroughly hated man of letters in America. Per- 
sonally, Cooper was a man of generous and sincere nature, 
moved by the loftiest moral virtues, and in private life 
enjoying the devoted affection of family and friends. 
He loved justice, nobility of life, and personal inde- 
pendence, and more than all he loved his country ; his 
patriotism was not a sentiment, but a passion. But 
he was a man of tenacious prejudices, exceedingly 
sensitive to criticism, fiery in temper, and implacable 
in his wrath when aroused against vilifiers and sland- 
erers. "We like him," says Nichol, "as we like 
Savage Landor, because he was free and fierce and 
strong." More happily Bryant says, "His character 
was like the bark of the cinnamon, a rough and astrin- 
gent rind without, and an intense sweetness within." 

Cooper's highest distinction as an original author is 
found in the " Leather Stocking " tales, which he 
well called "a drama in five acts." Arranged accord- 
ing to the development of the main character, the 
successive acts of this forest drama are " The Deer- 
slayer," " The Last of the Mohicans," " The Pathfinder," 
"The Pioneers," and "The Prairie." The success 
The Forest with which the adventurous career of the 
Tales hero, Natty Bumppo, or Leather Stocking, 

is unfolded from youth to old age, with unflagging in- 
terest through five novels, is a triumph of imaginative 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 151 

creation. " Leather Stocking is one of the few original 
characters," says Lounsbury, " perhaps the only great 
original character that American fiction has added to 
the literature of the world." He is genuine, represen- 
tative, and national ; he belongs to the soil, like the 
buffalo, and like the buffalo, is the type of an extinct 
species, known familiarly only to the pioneer stages of 
our civilization. The portrait is not without flaws. 
The pedantic verbosity of the author sometimes gets 
mixed with Natty's picturesque native speech ; but 
generally there is little to disturb the reader's delight 
in the companionship of this child of nature, with his 
aboriginal simplicity, natural piety, homely humor, 
and astonishing skill in woodcraft. 

To Cooper belongs the credit of adding the sea to 
the domain of imaginative literature. Captain Mar- 
ryat, Clark Russell, and the many other clever spin- 
ners of sea yarns, all learned their lessons from him. 
He wrote " The Pilot " to show how much more nauti- 
cal truth a real sailor could give to a story than Scott 
had given to " The Pirate," and the breezes still blow 
fresh through the sails of the Ariel. Even xhe 
superior to " The Pilot," as a story, is " The Sea Tales 
Red Rover," a tale of buccaneer adventure, after 
which come " Wing-and-Wing," " The Two Admirals," 
"The Water Witch," and "Afloat and Ashore," of 
inferior merit, though not without the genuine flavor 
of the sea. His sea tales are saturated with salt 
spray, as the forest tales are filled with the redolence 



152 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

of hemlock and spruce. In the fulhiess of nautical 
lore, in the vivid picturing of swift-flying vessels, bat- 
tling with tempestuous waves, or grappling with a 
desperate enemy, in the powerful presentation of all 
the wild and romantic phases of ocean life in the 
early days, Cooper shows an easy mastery. 

In the field of historical romance, into which he 
was naturally led by his ardent patriotism. Cooper 
achieved but one prominent success. The hero of 
" The Spy," the versatile peddler, Harvey Birch, who 
served the army of Washington when quartered near 
New York, as an original creation is a fit companion 
Historical ^or Long Tom Coffin and Natty Bumppo. 
Tales T}je interest of the other Kevolutionary 

and colonial stories is mainly confined to descriptions 
of manners and customs, and to narrative episodes. 
"Lionel Lincoln," for example, is valuable only for 
the account of the fights at Concord and Bunker 
Hill, which Bancroft once declared to be the best 
description of those scenes ever written. Cooper's 
genius developed its full strength when in the com- 
pany of men in deerskin and tarpaulin; his weak- 
nesses were all brought forth by contact with ordinary 
society. The temptation to lecture his fellow-men, 
and chastise his enemies, betrayed him away from 
the true path of the story-teller. 

His faults as a writer are many and palpable enough. 
He moralizes too much, his social and religious preju- 
dices are too prominent, his conversations are stilted 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 153 

and unreal, his introductions are often tediously long, 
his female characters are generally blushing and faint- 
ing 'creatures, without vitality or human interest, and 
his polite gentlemen are men of wood, and sapless 
wood at that. There is no true sentiment , ,^ 

Literary 

or passion. The inevitable love story trail- Faults and 
ing through the narrative is generally sense- ®" ^ 
less and absurd. But his faults are easily forgotten 
and forgiven in his best works. His power is in the 
description of exciting adventures; his scenes of 
action are alive with vivid reality. His enthusiasm 
for the woods is irresistible. With Hawk-eye, 
Uncas, and Chingachgook, he brings the reader into 
living comradeship. He is called the "American 
Scott," for with Scott he shares some of the highest 
qualities of the perfect story-teller. As Scott's true 
field was the romance of history. Cooper's field was 
the romance of wild nature. " In Leather Stocking," 
says Eichardson, "Cooper created, developed, and 
completed one of the most natural and significant Mid 
attractive characters in the fiction of all lands." His 
Indians, although conscientious studies from the life, 
are undoubtedly idealizations ; but they have been 
permanently accepted the world over, and whatever 
may be the contradiction of facts, will remain the 
Indians of literature. 

Of the rhetorical qualities of his work, Lounsbury 
says : " He rarely attained to beauty of style. The 
rapidity with which he wrote forbids the idea that he 



154 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

ever strove earnestly for it. Even the essential but 
minor grace of clearness is sometimes denied him. He 
had not, in truth, the instincts of the born literary 
artist. Satisfied with producing the main effect, he 
was apt to be careless in the consistent working out 
of details. Plot, in any genuine sense of the word 
' plot,' is to be found in very few of his stories. He 
seems rarely to have planned all the events before- 
hand ; or, if he did, anything was likely to divert him 
from his original intention. The incidents often ap- 
pear to have been suggested as the tale was in pro- 
cess of composition. Hence the constant presence 
of incongruities with the frequent result of bringing 
about a bungling and incomplete development.'' 

It is now often thought to be a mark of critical 
wisdom to disparage Cooper's novels, and to class 
them among juveniles. Such judgment, however, is 
indicative of a narrow sense of literary values. If 
the critics of his own generation, in the stimulating 
rush of his novel narratives, were sometimes too lib- 
Permanent ^^^^ i^^ their estimates of his genius, it is 
Position nevertheless certain that Cooper holds a 

permanent place of dignity and honor. Of this place 
his careful biographer says : " Cooper is one of the 
people's novelists, as opposed to the novelists of 
highly cultivated men. This does not imply that he 
has not been, and is not still, a favorite with many of 
the latter. The names of those, indeed, Avho have ex- 
pressed excessive admiration for his writings far sur- 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 155 

pass in reputation and even critical ability those who 
have spoken of him depreciatingly. Still the general 
statement is true that it is with the masses he has 
found favor chiefly. The sale of his books has 
known no abatement since his death." 

Reading and Discussion. — The Spy ; The Deerslayer ; The 
Pathfinder, or The Last of the Mohicans ; The Pilot, or The 
Red Rover. 

Biography and Criticism. — Lounsbury's "James Fenimore 
Cooper" (American Men of Letters). Clymer's "James Feni- 
more Cooper" (Beacon Biographies). Bryant's "Orations 
and Addresses. " Wilson's " Bryant and his Friends." Rich- 
ardson's "'American Literature," Vol. II, chap. 9. Nichol's 
" American Literature." Atlantic Monthly, February, 1887. 
Susan Fenimore Cooper's Introductions to the " Leather-Stock- 
ing Tales" and " Sea Tales." Parton's "Life of Horace Gree- 
ley," chap. 18. Matthews's "Americanisms and Briticisms." 
Lowell's "Fable for Critics." Mark Twain's " How to Tell a 
Story, and other Essays." Wendell's "Literary History of 
America. ' ' 



NATHANIEL PARKER WILLIS 

1806-1867 

Nathaniel Parker Willis, for many years the most 
popular magazine writer in America, was born in 
Portland, in 1806, the year before Longfellow was 
born in the same city. He was educated at Yale Col- 
lege, and began his career as a journalist in Boston, 
where his father established the first religious paper, 
the Boston Recorder, and the first children's paper, the 



156 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Youth's Companion. AVhile in college he became widely 
known through his poems on scriptural subjects. 

Willis's early work belongs to the period of the ele- 
gantly sentimental " Annuals," when no parlor table 
was complete without its " Gems " and " Albums " 
with "embellishments," "Thought Blossoms," "For- 
get-me-Nots," "Tokens," and "Friendship's Offerings." 
Age of The craze for this " gemmiferous " litera- 

" Annuals" ture, represented in England by Mrs. Nor- 
ton and "L. E. L.," and in America by James Gates 
Percival and Mrs. Sigourney, continued for some 
twenty years. To these gilt-edged collections of 
prose and verse Willis was a favorite contributor. 
Indeed, much of his poetry, says his biographer, 
"was album-verse, with an air of the boudoir and 
ball-room about it, a silvery elegance and an exotic 
perfume, that smack of that very sentimental and 
artificial school." 

He spent several years in Europe, enjoyed unparal- 
leled popularity with people of eminence in all 
classes, and recorded his experiences in a delightful 
series of sketches, "Pencillings by the Way," first 
sent as weekly letters to the New York Mirror, 
and in other collections, as " Inklings of Adventure " 
and " Loiterings of Travel." The " Pencillings " were 
extravagantly praised, and attained to a peculiar ce- 
lebrity, owing to the unreserve with which the author 
gossiped about distinguished people. In 1836 he re- 
turned with an English wife, and settled at "Glen- 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 157 

mary," Oswego, N. Y., where he wrote the charming 
rural sketches, " Letters from under a Bridge." His 
more celebrated home was "Idlewild," near Cornwall- 
on-the-Hudson. His nearest approach to a profes- 
sional position was that of joint editor with Morris 
of the Home Journal, for which he wrote indefatiga- 
bly during the last years of his life. 

Willis was something of a fop both in his manners 
and in his writings, for which, however, he has been 
too severely censured. He wrote merely to please, 
cleverly and often brilliantly, and always wdth a 
sunny and healthful optimism. In his best essays 
and stories there is a stimulating effervescence of 
style so sparkling and delicious that one does not 
notice the tenuity of thought. Indeed, his instinct 
for style was an important formative influence in our 
literature in the period when Cooper's indifferent 
English was assailing the public taste. Literary 
His work was ephemeral, but some of it Qualities 
is too valuable a contribution to refined enjoyment 
to be lost. As Lowell said : — 

'Tis not deep as a river, but who'd have it deep ? 

His easy, exuberant expression was the result of 
painstaking care, as shown by his manuscripts, filled 
with erasures and emendations. His English, says 
Beers, " had many excellent qualities. It was crisp, 
clean cut, pointed, nimble on the turn. He was good 
at a quotation, deftly brought in, unhackneyed, and 



158 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

never too much of it, a single phrase or sentence or 
half a line of verse may be. There is a perpetual 
twinkle or ripple over his style, like a quaver in 
music, which sometimes fatigues. Is the man never 
going to forget himself and say a thing plainly ? the 
reader asks. But the verbal prettinesses and affecta- 
tions which disfigured his later prose do not abound 
in his earlier and better work. He had at all times, 
however, a feminine fondness for italics and exclama- 
tions, and his figures had a daintiness which dis- 
pleased severe critics. Thus : ' The gold of the sunset 
had glided up the dark pine-tops and disappeared, 
like a ring taken slowly from an Ethiop's finger.' 
'As much salt as could be tied up in the cup of a 
large water-lily,' is an instance of his superfine way 
of putting things. He likened Daniel Webster's fore- 
head, among the heads at a Jenny Lind concert, to ' a 
massive magnolia blossom, too heavy for the ♦breeze 
to stir, splendid and silent amid fluttering poplar 
leaves.' " Although euphuistic writing of this kind 
is not permitted by the severer taste of the present 
age, the sternest critic may enjoy it without endan- 
gering his self-respect. 

Class Reading. — Poems : The Belfry Pigeon ; To a City 

Pigeon ; To M from Abroad ; Spring ; Unseen Spirits ; 

Love in a Cottage ; The Annoyer ; The Sacrifice of Abraham ; 
Absalom. 

Prose : Letters from under a Bridge ; A Dinner at Lady 
Blessington's ; A Breakfast with Charles Lamb ; A Week at 
Gordon Castle, from Pencillings by the Way. 



Ill] THE KNICKERBOCKER WRITERS 159 

Biography and Criticism.— Beers's "Nathaniel Parker Willis " 
(American Men of Letters) and "Prose Writings of N. P. 
Willis." Richardson's "American Literature." Poe's "Lit- 
erati." Whipple's "Essays and Reviews," Vol. I. Lowell's 
"Fable for Critics." 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

National Expansion. — Schouler's "History of the United 
States," Vol. IV. McMaster's "History of the People of the 
United States," Vol. IV, chap. 33; Vol. V, chaps. 45, 47. 
Drake's "Making of the Great West." Roosevelt's " Winning 
of the West," Vol. IV, chap. 7. Goodrich's " Recollections of 
a Lifetime." Flint's "Recollections." Gay's "James Mon- 
roe" (American Statesmen). Royce's "California"; King's 
"Ohio"; Barrows's "Oregon" (American Commonwealths). 
Benton's "Thirty Years' View." Sparks's "Pioneer Life in 
the Ohio Valley." Powell's " Historic Towns of the Western 
States." " History of the Expedition under Lewis and Clarke," 
edited by Coues. Brooks's "First Across the Continent." 
Halsey's "Old New York Frontier." Warman's "Story of 
the Railroad" (Story of the West Series). Cairns's "On the 
Development of American Literature from 1815-1833." 

Illustrative Literature. — Irving's " Captain Bonneville" and 
"A Tour on the Prairies." Cooper's "Prairie." Mrs. Kirk- 
land's " Forest Life " and " Western Clearings." Bird's " Nick 
of the Woods." Paulding's "Westward Ho!" Parkman's 
" Oregon Trail." Thorpe's " Hive of the Bee Hunter." Eggle- 
ston's "Circuit Rider" and "The Graysons." Bret Harte's 
" Outcasts of Poker Flat " and " A Ship of '49." Mark Twain's 
" Roughing It" and "Life on the Mississippi." Longfellow's 
"Poems of Places — Western States." Kirkland's "Zury." 
Dye's " McLoughlin and Old Oregon." 

New York. — Roberts's "New York" (American Common- 
wealths), Vol. II, chap. 34. Roosevelt's "New York," chaps. 
12, 13. Mrs. Lamb's "History of New York." Janvier's "In 
Old New York." " The Knickerbocker Gallery," 1855. 



CHAPTER IV 

TRANSCENDENTALISM 

The most important influence in the development 
of American literature was the intellectual and spir- 
itual awakening in New England known as the 
Transcendental Movement. Transcendentalism was a 
vagrant impulse started in Germany, and passed on 
through England to America by Coleridge and Car- 
lyle; by Emerson and his followers it was localized 

and embodied in forms of creative effort; 
The Tran- 
scendental its altars were set up in Concord, a quiet 

Movement Massachusetts village, which for more than 

half a century has been the home and resort of poets 

and philosophers ; from this center radiated influences 

that have been productive of the finest fruits of 

American genius. Emerson and his associates were 

so closely related by a kinship of ideas that the group 

might with propriety be called the Concord School. 

The movement passed through many phases. It 

began with the reaction against orthodox Calvinism, 

which, under the leadership of Dr. Channing, resulted 

in Unitarianism. Erom Unitarianism it broadened 

rapidly into the Transcendentalism of Emerson and 

160 



CHAP. IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 161 

the liberal Christianity of Theodore Parker, It devel- 
oped various schemes of social reform, the most nota- 
ble of which was the Brook Farm experiment, directed 
by George Ripley, with whom Hawthorne, George 
William Curtis, and other choice spirits, were asso- 
ciated, in an attempt at plain living and high think- 
ing, based on the communal principle. The movement 
may be said to have culminated in the anti-slavery 
agitation and the Civil War. 

The fundamental characteristics of the movement 
were idealism, liberalism, independence, and reform. 
It was a protest against slavery in every form — 
physical, mental, and spiritual. Dogma and authority 
were renounced, and the rights of private Fundamental 
consciousness asserted. Man should " plant ^^^^^ 
himself indomitably on his instincts," declared Emer- 
son. About 1836 a number of young people, says 
Higginson, " discovered that it was possible to take a 
look at the stars for themselves." These young people 
were members of the '' Transcendental Club," among 
whom were Emerson, Ripley, Channing, Alcott, Par- 
ker, James Freeman Clarke, Elizabeth Peabody, Mar- 
garet Fuller, and others, who with ardent minds were 
giving color to a new dawn in New England thought. 
They were united, however, only in the one respect of 
enthusiasm for broader and better thinking and living. 
Goethe and German philosophy were studied and dis- 
cussed; Carlyle's "Sartor Resartus," which Emerson 
republished, was a powerful leaven. In 1840 the 



162 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Dial was started, a periodical, edited by Margaret 
Fuller and later by Emerson, which for four years 
was the special organ of the Transcendental writers. 
The era of "new views" naturally produced its 
excesses of unballasted enthusiasm, and became tem- 
porarily prolific of absurd isms and fantastic reforms. 
Every new theory was seized upon with the hope of 
some important revelation. Mesmerism had its adepts, 
and hydropathy, and phrenology. Fourierism had its 
converts. Chimerical projects for social regeneration 
were discussed in " conventions." " Communities were 
established," says Lowell, "where everything was to 
Reform ^^e common but common sense." Alcott re- 

Excesses nounced meat, and preached what Carlyle 
called his " potato gospel." Graham w^ould have no 
bolted flour. " One apostle," says Emerson, " thought 
all men should go to farming; and another that no 
man should buy or sell, that the use of money was the 
cardinal evil ; another that the mischief was in our 
diet, that we eat and drink damnation. Others as- 
sailed particular vocations, as that of the lawyer, that 
of the merchant, of the manufacturer, of the clergy- 
man, of the scholar." But along with "this din of 
opinion and debate," he adds, "there was a keener 
scrutiny of institutions and domestic life than any 
we had known; there was sincere protesting against 
existing evils, and there w^ere changes of employment 
dictated by conscience. No doubt there was plentiful 
vaporing, and excess of backsliding might occur. But 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 163 

in each of these movements emerged a good result, 
a tendency to the adoption of simpler methods, and 
an assertion of the sufficiency of the private man." ^ 

Opinions called '^ Unitarian" began to be current 
about 1815, and for many years a heated controversy 
was maintained between the orthodox and the radical 
Congregationalists. William Ellery Channing, who 
had received his first religious instruction from 
Samuel Hopkins, in Newport, became the leader 
of the radicals, and first gave to the body conscious- 
ness and the courage of its convictions, wiiiiam 
His sermon at the ordination of Jared ^"^'^. 

Cnannmg, 

Sparks, in Baltimore, in 1819, was re- 1780-1842 
garded as " a solemn impeachment of Calvinistic the- 
ology." He asserted the dignity of human nature, 
which he believed to be degraded by the doctrines 
of Calvinism, maintained the rights of human reason, 
and exalted the function of the individual conscience. 

We must start in religion from our own souls. In these is 
the fountain of all divine truth. An outward revelation is only 
possible and intelligible on the ground of conceptions and prin- 
ciples previously furnished by the soul. Here is our primitive 
teacher and light. There are, indeed, philosophical schools of 
the present daj'^ who tell us that we are to start in all our specu- 
lations from the Absolute, the Infinite. But we rise to these 
conceptions from the contemplation of our own nature. . . . 
The only God whom our thoughts can rest on, and our hearts 
can cling to, and our consciences can recognize, is the God 
whose image dwells in our own souls. 

1 "The New England Reformers." 



164 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Here we find the individualism and the self- 
centered spiritual authority of Emerson's teaching. 
Comparing this passage with Jonathan Edwards's 
denunciation of human nature, as the " predestinate " 
object of the Almighty's " everlasting wrath," one can 
perceive, as in no other way so well, the depth and 
significance of the change that was taking place in 
New England thinking. 

An intense love of freedom was fundamental to all 
of Channing's preaching and writing, which .made him 
an opponent of slavery as well as of Calvinism. "We 
were made for free action. This alone is life, and 
enters into all that is good and great." Boston still 
treasures as a precious inheritance the memory of his 
devout presence, lofty spirituality, and eloquent, per- 
suasive preaching. "It was not orator}^," says James 
Freeman Clarke, "it was not rhetoric; it was pure 
soul, uttering itself in thoughts clear and strong as 
the current of a mighty stream." 

Unitarianism was not only an expansive, revolu- 
tionary force in theology, but a stimulating, energizing 
force in literature, acting, in this direction, in unison 
with the more radical transcendental thought. Chan- 
ning's writings were largely controversial, but his 
essays on the " Life and Character of Napoleon Bona- 
parte" and "The Character and Writings of John 
Milton" were contributions to permanent literature. 
They mark an era in American prose; no critical 
work had before appeared so el': borate in form, so 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 165 

excellent in style, and so rich in knowledge. " The 
intrinsic merit of his writings," says Kichardson, 
" which are broad in range, earnest in tone, 

. ' Channing's 

graceful in style, and at times highly elo- Literary 
quent, is considerable. It is not usual for a ^°^^®^*^® 
theologian to be read half a century after death, and 
such has been Channing's good fortune. Yet it would 
be too much to call him one of the first American 
authors, if we limit the adjective to writers of the 
grade of Emerson, Hawthorne, Lowell, Longfellow, 
or Bryant. His work was valuable, because it was 
both a sign of, and an influence toward, that indige- 
nous culture which America was beginning to show. 
If America, between 1820 and 1840, with all her in- 
tellectual crudities and follies, was displaying some- 
thing of the academic spirit and work, and some 
foretaste of ' sweetness,' some dawn of ^ light,' she 
owed the boon, in considerable measure, to the fact 
that Channing lived and wrote." 

Closely allied to the Transcendentalists, and a " here- 
siarch " among the Unitarians, was Theodore Parker, 
Boston's most remarkable preacher after Channing. 
He began preaching at West Eoxbury in 
1837, where he enjoyed intercourse with Parker, 
the eager intellects of Brook Farm, and ^^""^^^° 
later became the pastor of an independent congre- 
gation in Boston. He was an omnivorous reader and 
prodigious worker, and his voluminous and volcanic 
eloquence was used with telling effect in his incessant 



166 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

labor as preacher, lyceum lecturer, and anti-slavery 
agitator. "He had no grace of person," writes his 
biographer, "no charm of expression, no music of 
voice, no power of gesture; his clear, steady, pene- 
trating blue eye was concealed by glasses. Still, 
notwithstanding these disadvantages, his intensity 
of conviction, his mass of knowledge, his warmth 
and breadth of feeling, his picturesqueness of lan- 
guage, his frankness of avowal, fascinated young and 
old." His belief, so far as it was more than a faith in 
freedom, knowledge, and spiritual enlightenment, was 
"theism based upon transcendental principles." Push- 
ing the liberalism of Channing to its logical but un- 
expected extreme, he became the leader of the radical 
wing of the church since known as " Parkerite Uni- 
tarians." Of his works, collected in fourteen volumes, 
" Historic Americans," and " Lessons from the World 
of Matter and the World of Man," have the most 
permanent interest. 

Between the conservative and radical Unitarians 
stood James Freeman Clarke, a popular Boston min- 
ister, widely known by his " Common Sense in Ee- 
james Free- ^i^ion," " Ten Great Religions," and other 
man Clarke, books of a similar character. He was the 
friend of all literary men and literary 
movements, and while holding essentially to the 
religious position of Channing, was able to sympa- 
thize with the most advanced thinkers among the 
Transcendentalists. The progress from Channing's 



IV] ' TRANSCENDENTALISM 167 

Unitarianism to Transcendentalism and Parker's 
radicalism, and thence to modern rationalism, was a 
natural expansion of the right of free thought. The 
logical tendency of Protestantism is toward individ- 
ualism. On the spiritual side both Channing and 
Emerson were the legitimate descendants of Jonathan 
Edwards. The " sweetness " of spiritual perfection 
which Edwards dared to claim only for the " elect " 
the Transcendentalists claimed for all men. 

The preaching of Channing was supplemented by the criti- 
cism of Andrews Norton (1786-1853), an accomplished Biblical 
scholar at Cambridge, who exposed the weaknesses of the argu- 
ments of Calvinism and its errors of scriptural interpretation. 
"Channing delighted," says Whipple, "to portray the felici- 
ties of a heavenly frame of mind ; Norton delighted to exhibit 
the felicities of accurate exegesis. Both were 
masters of style ; but Channing used his rhetoric Unitarian 
to prove that the doctrines of Calvinism were ^^ 
abhorrent to the God-given moral nature of man ; 
Norton employed his somewhat dry and bleak but singularly 
lucid powers of statement, exposition, and logic to show that 
his opponents were deficient in scholarship and sophistical in 
argumentation." The new theology was propagated in New 
York by Orville Dewey (1794-1882), who was once associated 
with Channing as assistant minister ; a man of fertile mind, 
with a deeply reverent sense of the dignity of human life and 
its ideal beauty, still known in his thoughtful lectures on "The 
Problem of Human Destiny." A long step toward rationalism 
was taken by John Gorham Palfrey (1796-1881), Professor of 
Biblical Literature at Harvard, better known as the historian 
of New England, who, in his " Academical Lectures on the 
Jewish Scriptures," explained most of the miracles of the Old 
Testament on natural principles. 



168 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Among the stanch defenders of Calvinism against the 
Unitarian heresy were the Andover professors, Moses Stuart 
(1780-1852), who, taking the hint from his adversaries, intro- 
duced to Americans the German scholars whose works would 
count on the side of orthodoxy ; and Leonard Woods (1774- 

, 1854), whose glory it is, according to a later 
Defenders of , . . , , ' , , 

Calvinism divme, to have " educated more than a thousand 

preachers who had neither crotchets nor airy 

aims." The leading champion of the Trinitarians for many 

years was Lyman Beecher (1775-1863), father of Henry Ward 

Beecher, who was called from a sixteen years' pastorate in 

Litchfield, Connecticut, to a pulpit in Boston, that he mighj be 

face to face, as it were, with the enemy. These men were 

strong preachers and hard fighters, and their many volumes of 

orthodox exposition and argument form a memorial of the 

great conflict that commands less and less of the interest of 

succeeding generations. 



RALPH WALDO EMERSON 
1803-1882 

" Socrates or Plato, if suddenly brought to life again 
in America, might have spoken like Emerson, and the 
effect produced by Emerson was certainly like that 
produced by Socrates in olden times." So writes Max 
Muller, in his recollections of literary friendships ^ ; 
and similarly others have sought to summarize the 
peculiar energizing results of Emerson's work by 
bestowing upon him such appellations as " The Buddha 
of the West," "The Yankee Plato," and "The Intel- 
lectual Emancipator of America." 

1 " Auld Lang Syne," 1st series, p. 172. 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 169 

Ealph Waldo Emerson was born in Boston, May 15, 
1803, " within a kite-string's distance " from the birth- 
place of Franklin. He was educated at 

^ Education 

the Boston Latin School and Harvard Col- 
lege, where he was graduated in 1821. He delivered 

a poem at his ^p^^;|^^^-\x^i,.^;;t^^>-^^^j,^\;;jv^^^^^^^ 
commencement v 5^^ ^^^^ l^v " ' .^^^^:- ^ .^^ ^\^> ^; 
and received a 
second prize for 
English compo- 
sition, but was 
not distinguished 
for scholarship, 
and seems to have 
given little evi- 
dence of the 
powers within 
him. His class- 
mate, Josiah 
Quincy, describes 
him as " quiet, ^^^^^ ^^j^^ Emerson 

unobtrusive, and 

only a fair scholar according to the standard of the 
college authorities." On leaving college he engaged 
in teaching. One of his pupils remembers him as 
" very grave, quiet, and very impressive in his appear- 
ance. There was something engaging, almost fasci- 
nating, about him; he was never harsh or severe, 
always perfectly self-controlled, never punished except 




170 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

with words, but exercised complete command over the 
boys." 

The descendant of eight generations of clergymen, 
Emerson was led into the ministry, as it were, by force 
of inheritance. He was ordained as a Unitarian 
preacher in Boston in 1829, but doubts and scruples 
arising in his mind about administering the communion, 
he resigned his pastorate in 1832, and soon afterward 
abandoned preaching altogether. His sermons appear 
to have been singularly attractive. Many recall their 
beauty of language, earnestness, and "an indefinite 
charm of simplicity and wisdom." In 1833 he went 
abroad, traveled in Italy and France, met Coleridge, 
Preacher and Wordsworth, and Landor, and visited 
Lecturer Carlyle in his wild Scotch home at Craigen- 

puttock, forming an acquaintance that led to a remark- 
able correspondence extending over thirty-six years. 
Mrs. Carlyle said years afterward, that he came like one 
" out of the clouds " into their desert, " and made one 
day there look like enchantment for us " ; and Carlyle 
thought him " one of the most lovable creatures they 
had ever looked on." The next year he settled in 
Concord, living at first in the village parsonage, after- 
ward Hawthorne's "Old Manse." He now began his 
career as a lecturer, and for many consecutive years 
delivered courses of lectures, out of which were formed, 
by a slow process of condensation and selection, his 
final "Essays." In 1835 his second marriage oc- 
curred, his first wife having died in 1832. 



'] 



TRANSCENDENTALISM 



171 



Emerson published anonymously in 1836 his first 
important essay, "Nature," a kind of prose poem, so 
strange in language and thought that few comprehended 
it, or suspected it to be the harbinger of an intellectual 
revolution. In April of the same year, for the cele- 
bration at the raising of a monument to commemorate 




The "Old Manse 



at Concord 

Concord Hymn," 



the Concord fight, he wrote the fine 
containing the memorable lines : — 

Here once the embattled farmers stood, 
And fired the shot heard round the world. 

In 1837 the celebrated Phi Beta Kappa oration, " The 
American Scholar," was delivered at Harvard, a dis- 
course that marks an epoch in American thinking and 



172 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

writing. It was an event, says Lowell, " without any 
former parallel in our literary annals, a scene to be 

always treasured in the memory for its 
Intellectual picturesqueness and its inspiration. What 

crowded and breathless aisles, what windows 
clustering with eager heads, what enthusiasm of ap- 
proval, what grim silence of foregone dissent ! " The 
address was a plea for generous culture, the study of 
nature and books and men, for purposes of mental and 
spiritual exaltation, in contrast with the absorbing 
pursuit of material gain into which Americans were 
plunging; also for an independent, self-respecting 
culture. "We have listened too long," he says, "to 
the courtly muses of Europe. The spirit of the 
American freeman is already suspected to be timid, 
imitative, tame." It was " our intellectual Declaration 
of Independence," says Holmes. "Young men went 
out from it as if a prophet had been proclaiming to 
them 'Thus saith the Lord.'" This plea for culture 
as the corrective of materializing tendencies was again 
made in 1841 in the address entitled "The Method of 
Nature," and his words have still a burning pertinency 
in their application to American life. 

We hear too much of the results of machinery, commerce, 
and the useful arts. We are a puny and fickle folk. Avarice, 
hesitation, and following are our diseases. The rapid wealth 
which hundreds in the community acquire in trade, or by the 
incessant expansion of our population and arts, enchants the 
eyes of all the rest ; this luck of one is the hope of thousands, 
and the bribe acts like the neighborhood of a gold mine to 



iv] TRANSCENDENTALISM 173 

impoverish the farm, the school, the church, the house, and 
the very body and feature of man. . . . While the multitude 
of men degrade each other, and give currency to desponding 
doctrines, the scholar must be a bringer of hope, and must 
reenforce man against himself. 

These early addresses and the essay " Nature " were 
the inspiring sources of the transcendental literature ; 
henceforth Emerson was a leader and seer. Truly did 
Carlyle write, " You are a new era, my man, in your 
huge country." The new doctrines aroused conserva- 
tive astonishment and led to controversies ; but in 
these Emerson took no part himself, defining his office 
to be, " Seeing whatever I can, and telling what I see." 
He would be only a revealer of truth, not its defender. 
"Like a rose tree in June, which blossoms sweetly 
whether the air be chilly or sunny, his thought quietly 
flowed into exquisite expression. You might like it or 
leave it. But the rose would be still a rose." ^ 

A great sorrow came to Emerson, in 1842, in the 
death of his first-born son, whose memory is enshrined 
in the beautiful and pathetic "Threnody," a poem 
which, in the opinion of Holmes, " has the dignity of 
' Lycidas ' without its refrigerating classi- 
cism, and with all the tenderness of Lectures in 
Cowper's lines on the receipt of his ^^^^^^ 
mother's picture." In 1847 he reluctantly yielded to 
the wishes of his friends in England, that he should 

1 George William Curtis's "Other Essays from the Easy 
Chair," p. 104. 



174 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

be heard there as a lecturer, and delivered in Edin- 
burgh, Manchester, and other cities, the lectures with 
which we are now familiar as " Eepresentative Men." 
It was during this visit that George Eliot met him and 
wrote to a friend : " I have seen Emerson — the first 
man I have ever seen." A literary result of this visit 
was the popular volume called '' English Traits." 

Emerson's saying that "great geniuses have the 
shortest biographies" applies to himself. He lived 
calmly apart from the seething activities of the world; 
his commerce was with the skies, whence he brought 
aid and consolation to men. His life flowed placidly 
on like the quiet river that flowed by his home, pure, 
transparent, and radiant with sunshine. The first 
volume of his collected "Essays" appeared in 1841, 
containing some of his most cherished work, as the 
essays on "History," "Self -Reliance," "Compensation," 
A Life of "Love," "Friendship," and "Heroism." 

Few Events ^ a gecond Series " of essays appeared in 
1844, to which were added " The Conduct of Life," 
1860, " Society and Solitude," 1870, and " Letters and 
Social Aims," 1876. The term "essays" might ap- 
propriately be the title of all his works, for his method 
is essentially the same in each volume. Even the 
poems are often but rhythmic expressions of ideas in 
the essays. In 1871 he visited California, and the 
following year made his third trip to Europe. His 
final home-coming was made memorable by the enthu- 
siastic welcome of his loving townspeople ; from the 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 175 

railway station he was " escorted with music between 
two rows of smiling school children to his house, 
where a triumphal arch of leaves and flowers had been 
erected." He was honored, in 1874, with the nomi- 
nation for the office of Lord Rector of Glasgow Uni- 
versity, and received live hundred votes against seven 
hundred for his competitor. Lord Beaconsfield. In 
twilight beauty his old age sank peacefully away to 
death, which came April 27, 1882. 

Emerson's personality was refined, gracious, and 
noble. "There was a majesty about him," says Lowell, 
" beyond all other men I have known, and he habitually 

dwelt in that ampler and diviner air to 

^ Personality 

which most of us, if ever, only rise in 
spurts." Says Hawthorne : " It was good to meet him 
in the wood-paths or sometimes in our avenue, with 
that pure intellectual gleam diffused about his presence 
like the garment of a shining one; and he so quiet, so 
simple, so without pretension, encountering each man 
alive as if expecting to receive more than he could 
impart." And he adds, "It was impossible to dwell 
in his vicinity without inhaling more or less the 
mountain atmosphere of his lofty thought." He was a 
philosopher among farmers, and the Concord farmers 
honored and loved him, though they did not understand 
him. He was faithful to social and civic duties, kind 
and courteous to visitors, infinitely patient even with 
the inquisitive stranger. "His friends were all who 
knew him " ; even " babes in arms returned his angelic 



176 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

smile." Yet his life was led apart from men ; it was 
a life "hidden in the light of thought." He often 
spiced his philosophy with the shrewd Yankee sense, 
but he lacked the Yankee aptitude for practical affairs. 
After vain trials with the hoe and pruning knife, he 
turned his gardening over to Thoreau. His little son, 
seeing him awkwardly working with a spade, cried 
out, " Take care, papa, you'll dig your leg ; " and he 
once humorously said of his manual dexterity that he 
could " split a shingle four ways with one nail." His 
purse was never filled. A new stove for the kitchen 
depended upon the success of a season's lecturing. 
With the mere business of living he could not seriously 
concern himself. His business was with the stars. 

The philosophy of Emerson is Idealism, applied to 
practical life; its highest truths come through the 
intuitions, not through the " half sight of science." In 
its expression he is sometimes carried in lofty rhapso- 
dies to the verge of mysticism, as in "Nature," "The 
Over-Soul," and the poem " Brahma " ; but generally 
his thought is well anchored in common sense, and he 
Emerson's everywhere gives inspiring and illuminat- 
Phiiosophy j^g evidence of the possibilities of life on 
a higher level. He is the mystic and the man of sense 
united, as suggested in Holmes's happy comparison: — 

Where in the realm of thought, whose air is song, 
Does he, the Buddha of the West, belong ? 
He seems a winged Franklin, sweetly wise, 
Born to unlock the secrets of the skies. 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 177 

His constant theme is the omnipresence of God. Soul 
permeates all things. " The world is saturated with 
deity." His mental attitude is optimistic, always that 
of trust and faith. " My whole philosophy," he says, 
"which is very real, teaches acquiescence and op- 
timism." His influence is that of an inspirer, giving a 
spiritual lift to all who reach out to him. Individualism 
and self-reliance are fundamental to his theory of life. 
" Insist on yourself ; never imitate." He is not afraid 
of inconsistency. " With consistency a great soul has 
simply nothing to do," he says. "Speak what you 
think now in hard words and to-morrow speak what 
to-morrow thinks in hard words again, though it 
contradict everything you said to-day." He at times 
seems distant and cold; the light of his thought is 
astral rather than solar ; but if the heart is not always 
warmed, the soul is purified and exalted. He formu- 
lates no system of philosophy ; he asserts, but does not 
argue; and stimulates in others independent and 
original thought. " He was the great liberalizer," says 
Curtis. His thought entered into the mental con- 
sciousness of New England and cleared away its 
acerbity; tempered the harsh theological atmosphere 
that enveloped it, and brought forth the sweet flowers 
and fruitage of Longfellow, Lowell, and Whittier. 
New England without Concord and Emerson would be 
like Greece without Athens and Plato. Of the final 
value of his work Matthew Arnold says : " As Words- 
worth's poetry is in my judgment the most important 



178 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

work done in verse in our language during the present 
century, so Emerson's ' Essays ' are, I think, the most 
important work done in prose." And this estimate is 
well supplemented by Henry James's explanation of 
the fundamental and abiding power of his work: 
"There have been many spiritual voices appealing, 
consoling, reassuring, exhorting, or even denouncing 
and terrifying, but none has had just that firmness and 
just that purity. It penetrates farther, it seems to go 
back to the roots of our feelings, to where conduct and 
manhood begin ; and, moreover, to us to-day, there is 
something in it that says that it is connected somehow 
with the virtue of the world, has wrought and achieved, 
lived in thousands of minds, produced a mass of 
character and life." 

Emerson's essays are mosaics of precious thoughts, 
arranged without definite design, and held together by 
the cohesiveness of spirit rather than of logic. He 
confesses to a " lapidary style. I build my house of 
bowlders." Carlyle complained that his paragraph is 
not " a beaten ingot," but " a beautiful square bag of 
duckshot held together by canvas." He made endless 
Prose notebooks, and from these would sift the 

style substance of a lecture or an essay. His 

thought ran naturally into crisp, laconic sayings, asso- 
ciated, rather than correlated, with a central theme. 
Thickly strewn everywhere upon his pages are aphor- 
istic sentences like these : — 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 179 

Hitch your wagon to a star. 

Character teaches above our wills. 

Beauty is the mark God sets upon virtue. 

Every man's task is his life-preserver. 

A great mau is always willing to be little. 

Nature is loved by what is best in us. 

God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches 
and religions. 

Men are like Geneva watches with crystal faces which ex- 
pose the whole movement. 

Truth is the summit of being ; justice is the application of 
it to affairs. 

Prudence is the virtue of the senses. It is the science of 
appearances. It is the outmost action of the inward life. It is 
God taking thought for oxen. 

"Emerson's style," says Holmes, "is epigrammatic, 
incisive, authoritative, sometimes quaint, never ob- 
scure, except when he is handling nebulous subjects. 
His paragraphs are full of brittle sentences that break 
apart and are independent units, like the fragments 
of a coral colony. His fertility of illustrative imagery 
is very great. His images are noble, or, if borrowed 
from humble objects, ennobled by his handling. He 
throws his royal robe over a milking stool and it be- 
comes a throne." " His eye for a fine, telling phrase," 
says Lowell, "that will carry true, is like that of a 
backwoodsman for a rifle ; and he will dredge you up 
a choice word from the mud of Cotton Mather himself. 
A diction at once so rich and so homely as his, I know 
not where to match in these days of writing by the 
page ; it is like homespun cloth-of-gold." 



180 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

In respect to Emerson as a poet, critical opinion is 
widely varied, according as emphasis is placed on the 
form or on the substance, in defining the essentials of 
poetry. He possessed the vision but not the " faculty 
divine," and his poetic limitations can be frankly ad- 
mitted without detriment to his worth or fame. The 
feeling and the exaltation of the poet were his dis- 
tinctive qualities ; much of his prose is poetry in the 
rough; but his poetic expression was imperfect; he 
Poetic lacked skill in managing the technique of 

Limitations verse. His ear was defective, betraying 
him frequently into halting and struggling rhythms, 
and rhymes that are sometimes cases of " actual ver- 
bicide." And yet he often triumphed supremely over 
his defects. Verse seemed to have a special attraction 
for him when he wished to embody some particularly 
fine or exalted thought, and so one finds everywhere 
in his poems beautiful and noble passages, "happy 
and golden lines, snatches of grace," which illustrate 
his own principle, that " great thoughts insure musi- 
cal expression." He has a way of astonishing the 
reader into admiration by sudden flashes of light and 
beauty and power. Stedman confesses that at times 
he thinks him " the first of our lyric poets, his turns 
are so wild and unexpected ; " and an English critic 
generously remarks : " If Emerson had been fre- 
quently sustained at the heights he was capable of 
reaching, he would unquestionably have been one of 
the sovereign poets of the world. At its very best. 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 181 

his phrase is so new and so magical, includes in its 
easy felicity such a wealth of fresh suggestion, and 
flashes with such a multitude of side lights, that we 
cannot suppose that it will ever be superseded, or will 
lose its charm." ^ 

His fine phrasing of striking and detached thoughts 
in crisp epigrammatic form is not equaled by other 
American poets. His favorite octosyllabic poetic 
verse, which runs so easily into crudeness ^^y^® 
and commonplace when overworked, is well suited to 
this condensed form of expression. The " Problem " 
is almost a succession of these pregnant sayings : — 

Out from the heart of nature rolled 
The burdens of the Bible old. 

One accent of the Holy Ghost 
The heedless world hath never lost. 

Compare also the familiar lines of the " Ehodora " — 

if eyes were made for seeing, 
Then beauty is its own excuse for being, 

and the exquisite imagery with which the " Concord 
Ode" opens — 

tenderly the haughty day 
Fills his blue urn with fire. 

The poetic limitations of Emerson are felt in the 
substance of his verse almost as much as in the form. 
It is lacking in human warmth and fellowship. Ex- 

1 Edmund Gosse's "Questions at Issue,'' p. 87. 



182 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

cept in the deex^ tones of the " Threnody " and in the 
patriotic poems, there is little of passion or emotion, 
passionless little of joy or pain. All is calm, philo- 
Poetry sophic, sublime. Such poetry moves the 

intellect, but does not melt into the heart. Its atmos- 
phere is clear and frosty, and like a winter landscape 
it affects one with a sense of isolation. The poet him- 
self is a vague, intangible figure ; somewhere beyond 
the reader's ken he sits alone gazing at the stars. 
Only when in contact with nature does he seem to 
reach out familiarly to his fellow-beings. A bumblebee 
almost persuades him to be humorous. He worships 
nature, but not like Keats, or Shelley, or even the 
philosophic Wordsworth. He hears no music in the 
fields like that of the " Solitary Eeaper," whose voice 

is an echo of 

Old, unhappy, far-off things 
And battles long ago. 

But it is almost an impertinence to discuss the 
limits of a genius that expressed itself chiefly and 
best in scorn of rules and formulas. Emerson's 
poetry is original and genuine, its message to the 
soul is authentic, and it does not matter that in total 
value it is surpassed by his prose. The touch of 
divinity is upon it, and that is enough, if we can 
but feel and see that it is there. The singularity of 
his poetic greatness is strikingly presented by John 
Burroughs, whose spirit is to the spirit of Emerson 
something more than kin: "Not in the poetry of 



iv] TRANSCENDENTALISM 183 

any of his contemporaries is there such a burden 
of the mystery of things, or such round wind-harp 
tones, lines so tense and resonant, and blown upon by 
a breeze from the highest heaven of thought. In 
certain respects he has gone beyond any other. He 
has gone beyond the symbol to the thing signified. 
He has emptied poetic forms of their meaning, and 
made poetry of that. He would fain cut the world 
up into stars to shine in the intellectual firmament. 
He is more and he is less than the best. He stands 
among other poets like a pine tree amid a forest of oak 
and maple. He seems to belong to another race, and 
to other climes and conditions. He is great in one 
direction — up ; no dancing leaves, but rapt needles ; 
never abandonment, never a tossing and careering, 
never an avalanche of emotion ; the same in sun and 
snow, scattering his cones, and with night and ob- 
scurity amid his branches." ^ 

Class Study. — Essays : The American Scholar ; Compensa- 
tion ; Self-Reliance ; Friendship. 

Poems : The Problem ; The Rhodora ; The Humblebee ; The 
Snowstorm; Woodnotes ; Threnody; Concord Hymn; Fable; 
The Apology ; Good-Bye. 

Class Reading. — Essays : Character ; History ; Success ; 
Shakspere. 

Poems : Each and All ; May Day ; The Titmouse ; Sea 
Shore ; Days ; Musketaquid ; The Sphinx ; Two Rivers ; Boston 
Hymn. 

Biography and Criticism. — Cabot's "Memoir of Ralph 
Waldo Emerson." Holmes's "Ralph Waldo Emerson" 

1 John Burroughs's " Birds and Poets," p. 199. 



184 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

(American Men of Letters) . Garnett's ' ' Ralph Waldo Emer- 
son " (Great Writers). Conway's "Emerson at Home and 
Abroad." E. W. Emerson's " Emerson in Concord." 
Norton's " Correspondence of Carlyle and Emerson." Mrs. 
Fields's "Authors and Friends." Woodbury's "Talks with 
Ralph Waldo Emerson." Alcott's "Concord Days." Whip- 
ple's "Recollections of Eminent Men." Ireland's "In Me- 
moriam: Emerson." Lowell's "Emerson the Lecturer" and 
"Thoreau" (Prose Works, Vol. I) and "Fable for Critics." 
Curtis's " Literary and Social Essays." Matthew Arnold's 
"Discourses in America." Morley's "Ralph Waldo Emer- 
son: an Essay." Chapman's "Emerson and Other Essays." 
Birrell's " Obiter Dicta," 2d series. Burroughs' s " Indoor 
Studies" and "Birds and Poets." Henry James's "Partial 
Portraits." Scudder's "Men and Letters." Cooke's "Emer- 
son: his Life, Writings, and Philosophy. " Johnson's "Three 
Englishmen and Three Americans." Grimm's "Literature." 
Sanborn's " Genius and Character of Emerson." Richardson's 
"American Literature," Vol, I, chap. 9; Vol. II, chap. 5. 
Whipple's " American Literature." Alcott's " Ralph Waldo 
Emerson : an Estimate of his Character and Genius." Hig- 
ginson's " Contemporaries." Julian Hawthorne's " Confessions 
and Criticisms." Frothingham's "Transcendentalism in New 
England," chap 9. Welsh's " Development of English Litera- 
ture." Forster's " Four Great Teachers." Hunt's "Studies in 
Literature and Style." Santayana's " Poetry and Religion." 
Garnett's " Essays of an Ex-Librarian." 

Poets' Tributes. — Hayne's "To Emerson on his Seventy- 
seventh Birthday.'* Stedman's " Corda Concordia." Alcott's 
" Ion : a Monody." Emma Lazarus's " To R. W. E." Susan 
Coolidge's " Concord." Sanborn's " The Poet's Countersign." 
Lucy Larcom's " R. W. E." Stoddard's " At Concord." Mat- 
thew Arnold's "Written in Emerson's Essays." Cranch's 
"Ralph Waldo Emerson." 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 185 



HENRY DAVID THOREAU 
1817-1862 

Henry David Thoreau, " the poet naturalist," was 
born in Concord, in 1817, and there lived his strange 
life to the end. As indicated by his name, his remote 
ancestry was French, but he was himself a thorough- 
bred Yankee. He was graduated from Harvard in 
1837, without distinction as a scholar, but became 
proficient in Greek, and in later life made a transla- 
tion of the " Prometheus Bound " of ^schylus. He 
taught a short time, then took up pencil- g^^j^^j ^ 
making, his father's trade, and when he and 
had succeeded in making a better pencil 
than was then in use, surprised his friends by declar- 
ing his intention never to make another pencil : " Why 
should I ? I would not do again what I have done 
once." The way to fortune thus opened had no at- 
tractions for him. Eeading and the study of wild 
life were the only occupations that satisfied him, and 
for these he renounced the world, preferring to the 
society of men "that glorious society called Soli- 
tude." He chose, says Emerson, " to be the bachelor 
of thought and Nature." 

About six weeks of paid labor in the year Thoreau 
found to be enough to supply his simple wants. He 
was a skillful carpenter, gardener, and land surveyor, 
and the neighboring farmers learned to respect the 



186 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

eccentric recluse as they found his knowledge of their 
fields to be far superior to their own. He lectured 
frequently at the Concord Athenaeum, and occasionally 
elsewhere. The little world of his native town was 
all-sufficient for him, and he seldom left it to explore 
the great world. " The sight of a marsh hawk in 
His Field Concord meadows," he says, " is worth 
of study more to me than the entry of the Allies 

into Paris." Concord Eiver was as interesting as 
the Mississippi or the Amazon. His first published 
volume, "A Week on the Concord and Merrimac 
Rivers," describes an excursion made with his brother 
in a boat of his own building. Excursions to the 
forests of Maine and Canada and to the salt marshes 
of Cape Cod yielded materials for the volumes entitled 
^' Maine Woods," " A Yankee in Canada," and " Cape 
Cod." In 1845 he built with his own hands a cabin 
on the shore of Walden pond, a mile south of the 
village, and his two years' life in this hermitage is 
described in the most popular and most charming of 
his books, " Walden ; or Life in the Woods." The 
site of the cabin is now marked by a cairn of stones 
gathered from the neighboring fields, to which each 
devoted pilgrim adds a stone. 

In an early college essay Thoreau commends the 
practice of " keeping a private journal or record of 
our thoughts, feelings, studies, and daily experience." 
Such a journal he himself kept, from 1837 until his 
death, which is comprised in thirty manuscript vol- 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 187 

umes, and from wliich material for several posthumous 
volumes has been obtained. He could seldom be in- 
duced to interrupt his studies to address Literary 
the public. Besides an occasional essay or Habits 
poem he published only two works during his life- 
time, the ^^Week," and " Walden." Of the first 
nearly the whole edition was sent back to him by 
the publisher unsold. " I have now," he says, " a 
library of nearly nine hundred volumes, over seven 
hundred of which I wrote myself." He was indiffer- 
ent to fame, and did not need public interest or private 
sympathy to encourage him in his work. 

He had few friendships ; animals and Indians were 
more companionable than cultivated men, because 
nearer the heart of Nature. His master and chief 
friend was Emerson, the cast of whose personal 
thought is on all he wrote. Although aj)- Qualities 
parently without human sympathy, he was one of the 
first to speak fearlessly in behalf of the slaves. He 
was as obstinately independent in his actions and con- 
victions as Nature herself. Opposition stimulated 
him, and toughened the fiber of his nature, as the 
wind strengthens a tree. He says, " I love to go 
through a patch of scrub oaks in a bee-line, where you 
tear your clothes and put your eyes out." He enjoys 
storms, is " glad to be drenched " in a cold rain ; " it 
gives a tone to my system." He has the palate of an 
out-door man and relishes " the sours and bitters of 
nature," and so genuine is his enjoyment that readers 



188 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

are bound to share his enthusiasms. Indeed, when 
reading his essay on " Wild Apples," one feels that it 
would be easy to forego peaches and oranges for- 
ever. 

The true value of Thorean's writings has been dis- 
covered only in recent years. The secret of his power 
is in a sympathetic and minute knowledge of Nature, 
Nearness to suff used with ideality. He was a natural- 
Nature js^^ 1)^^ j^Q^ ^ scientist. He would never 
use trap or gun ; like Hawthorne's Donatello he pos- 
sessed a kind of mysterious kinship with the animal 
world. The hunted fox came to him for shelter, squir- 
rels nestled in his clothing, and though men found him 
cold and disagreeable, children delighted in his com- 
pany. All living objects seemed to yield their secrets 
to him as his right. He had the poet's sensitiveness 
to every sound and scene of beauty, and at times could 
express his feeling in well-turned verse. Occasionally, 
as in the poem " Smoke," he shows a classic felicity 
of expression as exquisite as the Greek. But his 
poetry was happily judged by Emerson : " The thyme 
and marjoram are not yet honey." Although his 
prose is filled with the substance of poetry, his 
mind was too untamable to submit to the restraints 
of verse. His general qualities were well summarized 
by himself: "The truth is I am a mystic, a transcen- 
dentalist, and a natural philosopher to boot." 

Of Thoreau as a writer Lowell says: "His range 
was narrow, but to be a master is to be a mast^. He 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM ,189 

had caught his English at its living source, among the 
poets and prose writers of its best days ; his litera- 
ture was extensive and recondite; his quotations are 
always nuggets of the purest ore ; there are Lowell's 
sentences of his as perfect as anything in criticism 
the language, and thoughts as clearly crystallized ; his 
metaphors and images are always fresh from the soil ; 
, he had watched Nature like a detective who is to go 
upon the stand ; as we read him it seems as if all-out-of- 
doors had kept a diary and become its own Montaigne ; 
we look at the landscape as in a Claude Lorraine 
glass; compared with his, all other books of similar 
aim, even White's ^ Selborne,' seem dry as a country 
clergyman's meteorological journal in an old almanac." 
And yet to many he can be a trifle dull ; he observes 
minutely, his sight is microscopic, and he records de- 
tails endlessly, and the aim of it all is indefinite. 
"He took nature as the mountain-path to an ideal 
world. If the path wind a good deal, if he record too 
faithfully every trip over a root, if he botanize some- 
what wearisomely, he gives us now and then superb 
outlooks from some jutting crag, and brings us out at 
last into an illimitable ether, where the breathing is 
not difficult for those who have any true touch of the 
climbing spirit." 

Class Study. — Excursions : The Succession of Forest Trees ; 
Wild Apples ; A Winter Walk. 

Class Reading. — Excursions : Walking ; Autumnal Tints ; 
Night and Moonlight; Walden ; Early Spring in Massachusetts. 



190 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Biography and Criticism. — Sanborn's " Thoreau " (Ameri- 
can Men of Letters). Page's "Thoreau, his Life and Aims." 
Emerson's "Biographical Sketch" (Introduction to " Wal- 
den "). Clianning's " Thoreau, the Poet Naturalist." Salt's 
" Life of Henry David Thoreau." Lowell's Prose Works, Vol. I. 
Burroughs's " Indoor Studies." Stevenson's " Familiar Studies 
of Men and Books." Louisa M. Alcott's "Thoreau's Flute." 
Emerson's " Woodnotes." 



NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE 
1804-1864 

With the Transceiidentalists, but not of them, was 
Nathaniel Hawthorne, the greatest romancer and the 
finest imaginative artist in American literature. He 
was born July 4, 1804, in witch-haunted Salem. His 
ancestors for many generations were celebrated for 
their stern and vigorous qualities ; one per- 
secuted the Quakers, and another con- 
demned witches ; his grandfather was the " Bold 
Hawthorne" of the Eevolutionary ballad; his father 
was also a sea captain, and died in South America in 
1808. Unlike these sturdy ancestors as was Haw- 
thorne, the gentle dreamer, yet " strong traits of their 
nature," he says, "have intertwined themselves with 
mine." 

When fourteen years old he went with his widowed 
mother to Raymond, Maine, where for a year he lived 
"like a bird of the air, so perfect was the freedom I 
enjoyed." He loved to wander in the forest and skate 
until midnight all alone on Sebago lake, "with the 



TRANSCENDENTALISM 



191 



deep shadows of the icy hills on either hand." Here, 

he declared in after years, " I first got my cursed 

habit of solitude." He studied under Dr. 

, , PIT- Education 

Worcester, the author of the dictionary, 

and was graduated from Bowdoin College in 1825. 
Longfellow was 
his classmate and 
Franklin Pierce 
and Horatio 
Bridge were his 
most intimate col- 
lege friends. His 
mates called him 
"Oberon," for 
from early youth ^^^ 
he possessed a 
strikingly fine 
physique, strong, 
erect, with 
grandly molded 
head and large 
dark eyes, bril- 
liant and beautiful with expression. Charles Reade 
said that he had never seen such eyes in a human head. 
He did not distinguish himself as a scholar, though " a 
hearty devourer of books," following the bent of his 
own fancies, or with his friend Bridge " gathering blue- 
berries in study hours under those tall academic pines, 
or watching the great logs as they tumbled along the 




Nathaniel Hawthorne 



192 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

current of the Androscoggin, or shooting pigeons and 
gray squirrels in the woods," in short, "a hundred 
things the faculty never heard of." But he formed 
strong friendships with Bunyan, Spenser, Shakspere, 
and other great English authors, and soon after gradua- 
tion published "Fanshawe," a story of college life, which 
he afterwards suppressed when a better disciplined 
taste discovered its crudeness. 

For twelve years after leaving college, Hawthorne 
lived a stranger in his own town and a recluse in his 
own home, indulging to the full his relish for solitude. 
He was seldom seen in the daytime, but would wander 
alone at night along the haunted streets of the old 
town, or up and down the moonlit seashore. In his 
Discipline of silent chamber he studied and meditated, 
Solitude and wrote and burned his rejected manu- 

scripts and wrote again. It was a period of rigid self- 
discipline, during which the fine qualities of his genius 
were wrought into shape for the production of exquisite 
works of art. " Here I sat a long, long time, waiting 
patiently for the world to know me." Some of his 
stories had appeared in the magazines and annuals of 
the day, and in 1837 he gathered these firstlings of 
his imagination into a volume felicitously entitled 
"Twice-told Tales." They were generously praised 
by Longfellow in the North American Review, and Poe, 
the self -constituted literary dictator of the period, 
grudgingly acknowledged their power and foretold the 
author's high fame. He was not much longer to be. 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 193 

what he had once called himself, " the obscurest man of 
letters in America." 

He had attracted the friendly interest of Bancroft, 
the historian, and through him received an appoint- 
ment in the Boston Custom House ; but the measuring 
of coal he found to be "a very grievous thraldom," 
from which he escaped in two years. He spent the 
next year with the Brook Farm community, hoping to 
find in this experiment with modified communism, in 
which "nobler loves and nobler cares" Brook Farm 
were to prevail, favorable conditions for a an<i Marriage 
comfortable, if not an ideal home; for he was now 
preparing for the most important event of his life, his 
marriage to Sophia Peabody, whom his son-in-law, 
Lathrop, describes as " a woman of the most exquisite 
natural cultivation conceivable." Transcendental 
farming proved to be an expensive delusion, and in 
1842 he left this visionary Arcady, married, and settled 
in the " Old Manse," the ancient parsonage of Concord. 
Here three years were " devoted to literature and hap- 
piness." In this " Eden " grew " The Mosses from an 
Old Manse," the introduction to which is a most 
charming chapter of autobiography, a piece of idyllic 
writing that Curtis thinks to be "perhaps the most 
softly hued and exquisite work of his pen." 

Publishers paid slowly and meagerly in those days, 
and the happy couple tasted " some of the inconven- 
iences of poverty." Having a wholesome dread of the 
wolf at the door, Hawthorne accepted the position of 



194 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

custom house surveyor in Salem. Through a change 
of administration at Washington, he lost this position 
Government ^^ 1849, and returned to productive literary 
Service work. It is noteworthy that Hawthorne 

wrote nothing during his various periods of official 
service, except elaborate notebooks and journals. His 
delicately organized genius would not create under the 
restraint of official duty ; it required long intervals of 
uninterrupted meditation. He now worked strenu- 
ously at the romance that had been slowly taking 
shape in his mind during the custom house idleness, 
and in 1850 "The Scarlet Letter" was published. 
Success was immediate and enthusiastic, and his 
reputation was established. America had finally 
produced an imaginative work of the highest order, 
and one that in pith and substance was truly Ameri- 
can. 

The three years from 1850 to 1853 were Haw- 
thorne's most prolific period. He lived for a time in 
Lenox, among the Berkshires, in ''the ugliest little 
old red farmhouse you ever saw," and there wrote 
" The House of Seven Gables " and the " Wonder 
Book." In 1852 he returned to Concord to establish 
his home at the " Wayside," a pleasant old house 
looking out upon the road along which the British 
soldiers made their inglorious march. The same year 
appeared the "Blithedale Romance," "the lightest, 
the brightest, the liveliest" of his fictions. Upon 
the election of Pierce to the presidency, he was sent 



it] transcendentalism 195 

as consul to Liverpool. Seven years were spent 
abroad, the last part of the period in Italy. At Flor- 
ence he occupied a retired villa overlook- Foreign 
ing the city, " with a moss-grown tower Residence 
haunted by the ghost of a monk who was confined 
there in the thirteenth century. I mean to take it 
away bodily and clap it into a romance which I have 
in my head." The romantic villa soon appeared in 
"The Marble Faun," which was published in 1860, 
the year in which he returned to America. Settled 
again at the " Wayside," he entered upon several lit- 
erary projects, but completed only one more book, 
" Our Old Home," made from his English notes and 
recollections. The Civil War was a source of great 
depression, to which his creative powers yielded ; and 
his physical health strangely and steadily declined. 
Two novels were begun, "Septimus Felton" and "The 
Dolliver Eomance." The opening chapter of the lat- 
ter had been given to the printer, and readers of the 
Atlantic were eagerly awaiting the promised romance, 
when he wrote sadly to his publisher : "I know pretty 
well what the case will be. I shall never finish it. " 
A few weeks later he attempted a trip to the White 
Mountains with his devoted friend, Franklin Pierce, 
and died suddenly at Plymouth, May 18, 1864. 

The life of Hawthorne was singularly pure and 
beautiful, and it was a happy life, although to the 
outer world it seemed austere, morbid, and melan- 
choly. He had the sensitive, thoughtful, brooding 



196 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

temperament of Hamlet, easily impressed and bur- 
dened by the jarring of sin in the world. A natural 
Personal tendency to shyness and silence was in- 

Quaiities creased by his early habits of study and 
by the unsocial life of his family. "A cloudy veil 
stretches across the abyss of my nature. I have, how- 
ever, no love of secrecy and darkness." Indeed, accord- 
ing to his friend Fields, though the humorous side 
of his nature was not often discernible, he could be 
"marvelously moved to fun." He loved children de- 
votedly, entering sympathetically into their lives, and 
wrote stories for them that have been classic from the 
day of their publication. "He was a man of rare 
courtesy and kindliness in personal intercourse," says 
Curtis, " mostly silent in society, and speaking always 
with an appearance of effort, but with a lambent light 
of delicate humor playing over all he said." 

The art of a supreme artist like Hawthorne baffles 
attempts at analysis. His perfect workmanship leaves 
no tool marks by which to trace its processes. Some 
things are obvious, yet without the definiteness that 
attaches to the qualities of ordinary authors. It is 
clear that his mind works most naturally in the region 
Artistic 0^ ^^6 ideal and spiritual, yet he is as 

Qualities minute an observer as any realist of the 
Balzac cult. His imagination is like " tricksy Ariel," 
pure, delicate, sensitive, yearning for the freedom of 
the upper air, while bound to earth to serve mankind. 
This fine balancing of the ideal and real is a conspicu- 



ivj TRANSCENDENTALISM 197 

ous part of his genius. His thought runs most readily 
into symbolism, allegory, apologue, but the form is 
never stiff and mechanical. His artistic taste is per- 
fect. It keeps his work always within the bounds of 
the beautiful ; there is no offense of extravagance and 
vulgarity, no questionable sensationalism. It selects 
language of Saxon strength, without Saxon coarseness. 
Without affectation or weakness it mingles with prose 
the grace and rhythm of poetry. It permits him to 
preach, without revealing the preacher. It restrains 
his imagination at the borderland of wholesome im- 
agery ; Hawthorne never enters the " ghoul-haunted 
woodlands of Weir," where Poe's imagination loved 
to dwell. His delightful fancies " never leave a stain 
upon the imagination," says Leslie Stephen, "and 
generally succeed in throwing a harmonious coloring 
upon some objects in which we had previously failed 
to recognize the beautiful." Fields is right in saying 
that his writings '' never soiled the public mind with 
one unlovely image." 

A graceful and charming style would seem to have 
been a part of Hawthorne's natural endowment, yet 
he once said that it was merely " the result of a great 
deal of practice." Slightly self-conscious 
in the early tales, it becomes in the larger 
works rich, free, and spontaneous, transmitting the 
most delicate shades of thought and feeling with 
marvelous precision. It is as clear and beautiful as 
the water of a mountain brook filled with sunshine. 



198 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Pervading it, too, like the odor of flowers, is a quiet, 
evasive humor ; and here and there the odor is pun- 
gent, the humor is sharpened to a satiric edge. In 
the sketch of " The Custom House," intended as a 
relief to the gloom of " The Scarlet Letter," the happy 
l^lay of airy and piquant humor suggested to Curtis 
''the warbling of bobolinks before a thunderstorm." 
Hawthorne's theme, the problem of sin, was an in- 
heritance from his ancestors. He had no spiritual 
sympathy with puritanism, but his interest was dom- 
inated by it ; his imagination was held captive by 
the New England conscience. "The unwilling poet 
Burden of '^^ puritanism," Lowell calls him. It is a 
his Thought favorite method with critics, when account- 
ing for the limited product of American genius in the 
highest forms of literature, to magnify the uninspir- 
ing elements of American life and scenery. The 
imagination, it is said, cannot thrive where everything 
is in sharp outline, glaringly new and obtrusive, where 
there is no picturesqueness, no historic atmosphere, 
no distant background of legend and romance. Haw- 
thorne himself complained of the difficulty of making 
literature out of "commonplace i)rosperity in broad 
and simple daylight." That he was deceived in 
respect to his environment is shown by the manner 
in which he transformed this intractable material 
into fictions of incomparable beauty and imperishable 
interest. By the magic touch of his fancy he invested 
the hard New England history with a glamour of 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 199 

mystery as romantic as ever rested upon ivy-mantled 
ruins of the Old World. For this reason his stories 
are romances, rather than novels. He cares less for 
plot and action, and more for atmosphere, feeling, and 
the silent unveiling of souls. 

The early writings, contained in " Twice-told Tales" 
and "Mosses from an Old Manse," are of three 
classes. There are allegorical fantasies, like " Young 
Goodman Brown" and " Rappaccini's Daughter." 
Some of these are spun out of the dainti- The Early 
est material of pure fancy, as " The Snow '^^^^^ 
Image" and "The Great Carbuncle." Next are the 
historical tales, " myths and mysteries of old Massa- 
chusetts," such as "The Maypole of Merry Mount," 
"The Gray Champion," and the "Legends of the 
Province House." And finally, the graceful little 
sketches of real scenes, as "A Kill from the Town 
Pump," "Main Street," "The Village Uncle," and 
"The Toll-Gatherer's Day." In this early work we 
find all of Hawthorne's distinctive qualities of style 
and theme ; " the quiet ease is there, the pellucid lan- 
guage, the haunting quality." But the finish of per- 
fection was yet to be added. The best criticism of these 
tales is that of Hawthorne himself : " They have the 
pale tint of flowers that blossomed in too retired a 
shade." There is not enough real flesh and blood in 
them. Their natural beauty is often like that of 
caverns as revealed for a moment by the glare of the 
explorer's torch. 



200 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

" The Scarlet Letter " is generally regarded as 
Hawthorne's masterpiece. In its clear insight into 
the elemental passions of human nature, in its power 
to lay bare the deepest recesses of the heart and soul, 
it is supreme. The analysis is as minute as an ex- 
periment in psychology. The abiding, hopeless, burn- 
ing retribution of sin is its theme. The interest is 
enthralling, the gloom is tragic. The flaming letter 
that symbolizes Hester Prynne's shame brands itself 
upon the reader's consciousness almost as relentlessly 
The Great ^^ upon the guilty breast of Arthur Dim- 
Romances mesdale. "The soul-struggles of four 
human beings, against the background of stern right- 
eousness and witch-superstition, are painted in hues 
of purple and black, with rays of nature's sunshine 
and childish innocence stealing across." In "The 
House of Seven Gables" the blighting effects of 
hereditary sin are presented. Of the four great 
romances, this is the most popular, and is nearest like 
the novel of manners. The scene of the story is old 
Salem. Although its atmosphere is filled with au- 
tumnal haze, there is cheer and brightness in it, 
variety and breadth of human interest, delicious 
humor and strong characterization. Henry James is 
inclined to think that it is " the closest approach we 
are likely to have to the great work of fiction so often 
called for, that is to do us nationally most honor 
and most good."^ "The Blithedale Eomance" is a 
1 " Library of the World's Best Literature." 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 201 

splendid memorial of the Brook Farm experiment. 
With an imagination free from the restraint of any 
historic intent, Hawthorne describes the life of the 
reformers as he saw it and judged it during his own 
unsatisfactory experience among them. It is full of 
fresh New World life and scenery, often idyllic in the 
grace and beauty of its outdoor pictures. The interest 
centers in the beautiful and brilliant Zenobia, a superb 
creation, and Hawthorne's finest woman character. 
The richest of the romances in descriptive beauty is 
"The Marble Faun," which has for background the 
majesty of Rome. The imperial city with its decaying 
splendor exercised a powerful fascination upon Haw- 
thorne, which, by the wonderful witchery of his pen, 
he in turn communicates to his readers. Interwoven 
with beautiful descriptions of art and nature, a slender 
thread of narrative sustains the moral purpose of the 
book. Hawthorne here treats the problem of evil in 
its broadest and profoundest aspect, seeking an ex- 
planation of the existence and purpose of sin through 
the unfolding of its mysterious transforming power. 
Donatello is a symbolic expression of the evolution of 
a human soul. 

Hawthorne's rank as an author is among those few 
whose right it is to stand above all planes of compari- 
son. In Lowell's judgment he possessed "the rarest 
creative imagination of the century, the rarest in some 
ideal respects since Shakspere." Says Bayard Tay- 
lor : " In all the higher literary qualities, in all that 



202 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

constitutes creative genius, he is indisputably the 
first. He found his own field of labor, like Cooper, 
but is entitled to higher honors as a discoverer, inas- 
much as that field was loftier and more remote. His 
style is no less limpid than that of Irving, and is the 
more attractive, in so far as it betrays the proportions 
of no model and the manner of no former period. He 
is at once the rarest and purest growth of the intel- 
lectual and social soil from which he sprang. He is 
Critical "^^ ^^^^J American, but no other race or 

Estimates time could possibly have produced him." ^ 
Of his peculiar power Leslie Stephen says: "No 
modern writer has the same skill in so using the mar- 
velous as to interest without unduly exciting our 
credulity. He makes, indeed, no positive demands 
on our credulity. The strange influences which are 
suggested rather than obtruded upon us are kept in 
the background, so as not to invite, nor indeed to ren- 
der possible the application of scientific tests. He 
catches dim glimpses of the laws which bring out 
strange harmonies, but on the whole, tend rather to 
deepen than to clear the mysteries. He loves the 
marvelous, not in the vulgar sense of the word, but 
as a symbol of the perplexity which encounters every 
thoughtful man in his journey through life." Hutton 
says of his literary method : " His characters are real 
and definitely outlined, but they are all seen in a 
single light — the contemplative light of the particu- 
"1 Essays and Notes," p. 354. 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 203 

lar idea which has floated before him in each of his 
stories — and they are seen, not fully and in their 
integrity, as things are seen by daylight, but like 
things touched by moonlight — only so far as they are 
lighted up by the idea of the story. The thread of 
unity which connects his tales is always some pervad- 
ing thought of his own ; they are not written mainly 
to display character, still less for the mere narrative 
interest, but for the illustration they cast on some 
idea or conviction of their author's. His novels are 
not novels in the ordinary sense ; they are ideal situa- 
tions expanded by minute study and trains of clear, 
pale thought into the dimensions of novels." 

Class Study. — Twice-told Tales : The Gray Champion ; A 
Rill from the Town Pump ; The Great Carbuncle ; Dr. Hei- 
degger's Experiment ; The Village Uncle ; Snowflakes ; The 
Threefold Destiny. 

Snow Image and Other Twice-told Tales: The Snow 
Image ; The Great Stone Face ; Main Street ; Little Daffy- 
downdilly. 

Mosses from an Old Manse : The Old Manse ; Rappaccini's 
Daughter ; Birds and Bird- Voices ; Young Goodman Brown. 

Class Discussion. — The House of Seven Gables, or The 
Marble Faun. 

Biography and Criticism. — Julian Hawthorne's "Nathaniel 
Hawthorne and his Wife." Lathrop's " Study of Hawthorne." 
Rose Hawthorne Lathrop's "Memories of Hawthorne." 
Bridge's "Recollections of Hawthorne." Henry James's 
"Nathaniel Hawthorne " (English Men of Letters). Conway's 
"Nathaniel Hawthorne" (Great Writers) and "Emerson at 
Home and Abroad," chap. 24. Mrs. Fields's " Nathaniel Haw- 
thorne " (Beacon Biographies). Fields's "Yesterdays with 



204 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Authors." Howe's " American Bookmen." Curtis' s " Liter- 
ary and Social Essays" and "From the Easy Chair," 3d 
series. Leslie Stephen's " Hours in a Library," 1st series. 
Hutton's "Literary Essays." Johnson's "Three Englishmen 
and Three Americans." Gates's ' ' Studies and Appreciations. " 
Higglnson's " Short Studies of American Authors." Whipple's 
" Character and Characteristic Men," and "American Litera- 
ture." Richardson's " American Literature," Vol. II. Nichol's 
"American Literature." Howells's "Literary Heroines," 
Vol. I. Poe's "Literati." Welsh's " Development of English 
Literature." 

Poets' Tributes. — Lowell's "Fable for Critics" and 
"Agassiz." Longfellow's "Hawthorne," Stedman's "Haw- 
thorne." Gilder's " Hawthorne In Berkshire." 

Among the Transcendentallsts must be numbered the gifted 
woman, Margaret Fuller, who has generally been regarded as 
the original of Hawthorne's " Zenobia " in the " Blithedale Ro- 
mance," and whose name has maintained a prominence dispro- 
portionate to the value of her books. She was one of the first 
Margaret ^^ establish the right of women to stand intel- 

Fuller, lectually with men. She edited the Dial^ the 

1810-1850 organ of Transcendentalism, gave brilliant "con- 

versation " lectures in Boston, and entered actively into the 
reform movements of the period, — temperance, antlslavery, and 
higher education for women. In 1846 she went to Italy, aided 
Mazzinl in his revolution, and married the Marquis Ossoll. 
When returning she was drowned with her husband and child 
within sight of her native land. The books written about this 
remarkable woman are now more interesting than her own 
writings (Lives by Higglnson and Mrs. Howe), although her 
" Woman in the Nineteenth Century " is a valuable landmark 
in the history of woman's progress. She furnished some of the 
Intellectual yeast of the period, the effects of which were seen 
in the works of others rather than in her own. 

The most visionary and mystical of the Concord group was 
Amos Bronson Alcott, whose "Orphic Sayings" proved too 



iv] TRANSCENDENTALISM 205 

difficult sometimes for the comprehension even of the elect. 
He conducted a school in Boston on the peculiar principle of 
vicarious punishment, renounced animal food, Amos Bron- 
worked in the field to prove the dignity of labor, son Alcott, 
and lived in a singularly exalted way the pure life 1799-1888 
of the soul. His "Tablets," "Concord Days," and "Sonnets 
and Canzonets" contain w^hat wisdom and beauty he had to 
bequeath to his fellow-men. His chief influence, as Higginson 
suggests, was "atmospheric," an emanation from his benign 
face and pure life. It was this influence that gave a kind of 
spiritual potency to his last achievement, the Concord School 
of Philosophy. 

Alcott was not unlike Chaucer's Clerk : — 

But al be that he was a philosophre, 
Yet hadde he but litel gold in cofre, 

and his search for the infinite proved to be a frequent embar- 
rassment to his family in respect to finite things. The task of 
keeping the balance adjusted between the practical and the 
ideal fell to the talented daughter Louisa, At seventeen her 
struggle began ; she tried teaching, sewing, going Louisa May 
out to service, and writing stories for the news- Alcott, 
papers. Her first book, "Flower Fables," was 1832-1888 
written at sixteen for the children of Emerson and her own 
sisters. A year of service as army nurse resulted in " Hospital 
Sketches." After years of discouraging toil her success was es- 
tablished with "Little Women" and its sequel "Little Men." 
These and other juvenile tales founded on her own family life, 
made her the most popular writer for children in her genera- 
tion. Her style is careless and commonplace, but there is a 
charm of freshness, naturalness, humor, clear-sighted sympa- 
thy with healthy boys and girls, and a wholesome gospel of 
work and simple living, that win the young, and compel the 
old to become young again. 

Among the minor poets affected by the Concord influence 
was Jones Very (1813-1880), "a sort of Unitarian monk and 
mystic," whose " Essays and Poems," first published in 1839, 



206 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

contains a series of sonnets remarkable for their clear spiritu- 
ality and delicate conception, expressing "the serene, sure 
beauty of churchyard lilies. ' ' Among the Brook- 
Minor Tran- jFarmers was Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813- 
scendental 
Poets 1892), whose "Poems," "Translation of the 

^neid," and "Ariel and Caliban," still hold his 
name in honor. The readers of the Dial looked for great things 
from William Ellery Channing (1818-1901), a nephew of the 
great divine, in whom Emerson was much interested, and 
whose verses Carlyle pronounced " worthy indeed of reading." 
Associated with this group by the serious import of her work 
was Helen Hunt Jackson ("H. H.") (1831-1885), whose 
poetry "unquestionably takes rank," says Higginson, "above 
that of any other American woman, and its only rival would 
be found, curiously enough, in that of her early schoolmate, 
Emily Dickinson." She is better known, however, by her 
"Bits of Travel" and other similar fragmentary descriptions 
and reflective essays in little, and by "A Century of Dishonor" 
and the powerful novel "Ramona" (1884), written in the 
white heat of indignation at the wrongs of the Indian. 
Another belated Transcendentalist was Edward Roland Sill 
(1841-1887), a scholar and idealist, whose two little volumes of 
verse contain a philosophy, expressed often with great beauty, 
that asserts the triumph of spirit over flesh with a confidence 
that, in a period of eager materialism, is stimulating and 
helpful. 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

Frothingham's "Boston Unitarianism," "History of New 
England Transcendentalism," and "Life of George Ripley." 
John Thomas Codman's " Brook Farm ; Historic and Personal 
Memoirs." Emerson's "New England Reformers" and "The 
Transcendentalist." Louisa M. Alcott's "Transcendental Wild 
Oats" (Silver Pitchers). Bradford's " Reminiscences of Brook 
Farm" {Century, November, 1892). W. H. Channing's "Me- 
moirs of William Ellery Channing." Higginson's "Life of 



IV] TRANSCENDENTALISM 207 

Margaret Fuller" (American Men of Letters). Hawthorne's 
"American Note Books." Channing's "Works," Vol. Ill 
(" Unitarian Christianity "). Nichol's " American Literature," 
chap. 8. Swift's "Brook Farm; Its Members, Scholars, and 
Visitors." Frank Preston Stearns's "Sketches from Concord 
and Appledore." Winsor's "Memorial History of Boston," 
Vol. III. Wendell's "Literary History of America," Bk. V. 
Higginson's "Cheerful Yesterdays" and "Contemporaries." 
Chadwick's "Theodore Parker, Preacher and Reformer." 
Caroline W. Healey's "Margaret and her Friends." Cheney's 
"Louisa M. Alcott: Her Life, Letters, and Journals." Julia 
Ward Howe's "Life of Margaret Fuller." Lowell's "Elegy 
on the Death of Dr. Channing." Whittier's " Channing." 



CHAPTER V 

THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 

Literature springs up naturally along the high- 
ways of great national movements. Much of such 
literature possesses only a transient interest, and is 
swept away with the dust and refuse left by the pro- 
cession of events; but some of it has a permanent 
vitality, because it embodies in artistic form princi- 
ples and passions of permanent and universal interest. 
During the period from 1830 to 1865 two movements 
affecting our national life, merging finally into one 
and culminating in the Civil War, produced their own 
interpretative literary records. 

The Constitution was hardly established before the 
long contest began over its provisions respecting the 
liberties of the states. Patrick Henry had sounded 
the " state rights " alarm, and the spirit of disaffection 
was spread through the South by the brilliant, eccen- 
tric, half-mad John Randolph, who prepared the way 

for John C. Calhoun, author and mighty 
Nullification ' ^ *^ 

and Aboii- defender of the South Carolina doctrine of 
tion "Nullification." At the North the party 

supporting the authority of the Constitution and the 
integrity of the Union was under the divided leader- 

208 



CHAP, v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 209 

ship of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster. The great 
question at issue was whether the Constitution estab- 
lished a union or a confederacy, a centralized govern- 
ment or a league of sovereign states. Underlying 
the whole controversy, and disturbing the conscience 
as well as the reason of both parties, was the hateful 
question of slavery. To make war directly upon this 
institution, the abolition movement was inaugurated 
by William Lloyd Garrison, who, in 1831, began pub- 
lishing the Liberator in Boston with the memorable 
challenge that startled the conservative self-interest 
and prejudice of the whole nation, " I will be as harsh 
as truth and as uncompromising as justice," and "I 
will be heard." 

Eorensic debate, however brilliant and impressive 
politically, seldom produces literature. The dry light 
of the reason cannot alone give lasting vitality to 
rhetorical art ; the intellect must be touched and tem- 
pered by emotion, and the thought must be illuminated 
by the imagination. Of all the masterly eloquence 
poured forth in Congress during a period of forty 
years, hardly any literary evidence remains except 
the few great speeches of Webster. The keen, logical 
arguments of Calhoun, and the magnetic, Pontics and 
persuasive speeches of Clay, are all lost in Literature 
the common oblivion of Congressional " documents." 
The powerful personality of these remarkable leaders 
was not transferred to their words. Webster alone 
had the genius so to clothe his arguments with 



210 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

thought and sentiment, and lift them from the arid 
l^lain of political controversy into the realm of art 
as to endow them with immortality. On the other 
hand, the substance of the abolition movement was 
an ardent, devoted sentiment of reform, sustained by 
moral ideals and a desperate intensity of purpose that 
led the participants to every extreme of obloquy, pov- 
erty, self-sacrifice, and martyrdom. While the cause 
of the Constitution was making magnificent debaters, 
the cause of slavery was making impassioned orators 
and poets. 

The period represented by AVebster may be called 
the third period of American eloquence. In some 
respects the public speaking of this x^eriod was supe- 
rior to that of the Eevolutionary epoch. The best 
orations were more elaborate, artistic, and learned, 
successfully simulating the grace and dignity of 
classical oratory. They were generally 
the Webster carefully written and corrected before de- 
Penod livery and publication. But the broader 

tendency was toward a shallow, bombastic style, the 
boastful " spread-eagle " style of Fourth-of-July occa- 
sions, and of "the member from Buncombe County." 
Says Bryce: "Public taste, which was high in the 
days after the Revolution, when it was formed and 
controlled by a small number of educated men, began 
to degenerate in the first half of this century. De- 
spite the influence of several orators of the first rank, 
incessant stump speaking and the inordinate vanity 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 211 

of the average audience brought a florid or inflated 
style into fashion, which became an easy mark for 
European satire." ^ 

Formal oratory in America practically came to an 
end with the Civil War. Formerly the people looked 
to the orator and statesman for instruction and guid- 
ance in respect to public affairs, but these functions 
are now usurped by the ubiquitous newspaper. Public 
speaking assumes more and more the character of a 
popular entertainment, of which instruction is only 
an incidental feature. 

The orators of this j)eriod may be classified accord- 
ing to their attitude toward slavery. John Randolph, 
John C. Calhoun, and Robert Y. Hayne represented 
the extreme Southern demands. Henry Clay, Daniel 
Webster, Edward Everett, Rufus Choate, and Robert 
C. Winthrop were moderate opponents of xhree 
slavery who deprecated the evil and re- ^'roups 
sisted its extension, but refrained from direct attack 
upon the " institution," lest it should imperil the 
Constitution and the Union. In opposition to these, 
the radical, sometimes fanatical. Abolitionists, with 
their high ideals, hot enthusiasm, and irresistible 
earnestness, were led by William Lloyd Garrison, 
Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, and Abraham Lin- 
coln. The speeches of nearly all of these illustrious 
men have literary qualities that are well worth study- 
ing, but they have not the literary greatness that is 
1 James Bryce, " The American Commonwealth," Vol. II, p. 652. 



212 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



necessary to long life. The orations of Webster, how- 
ever, and two at least of Lincoln's addresses, belong 
preeminently to both the literary and the political his- 
tory of America. 

DANIEL WEBSTER 

1782-1852 

Daniel Webster was born on a New Hampshire 
farm, January 18, 1782. He was a delicate child, and 

was not put to 
hard work, but he 
early showed an 
insatiable thirst 
for knowledge, 
reading every- 
thing that came 
in his way, and 
committing to 
memory large 
portions of what 
he read. This 
manifest talent 
for books deter- 
mined his father, 
in spite of meager 
means, to give 
him an education; accordingly the boy prepared for 
Dartmouth College, and was graduated in 1801. At 
school he was too timid to stand up and "speak 




Daniel Webster 



t] the antislavery movement 213 

pieces " in the usual manner, but revealed his native 

eloquence among the neighboring farmers, who would 

listen to his recitations from the Bible and 

P • o T • Education 

the poets, fascinated by the charms of his 

deep lustrous eyes, and the already rich and melodious 

intonations of his voice. 

At college he attracted attention for his quick per- 
ceptions, tenacious memory, and power of clear and 
convincing statement, qualities that readily secured to 
him a position of superiority among his fellows. 
He overcame his diffidence in public speaking, and so 
general was the recognition of his oratorical powers 
that the citizens of Hanover invited him to deliver a 
Fourth-of-July oration. It is remarkable that in this 
boyish speech are found the essential principles, clearly 
stated, that governed his life-work as a statesman. 

After a brief period of teaching, to help his brother 
through college, Webster began the study of law ; he 
was admitted to the bar in 1805, and finally settled in 
Portsmouth, where he rose rapidly in his profession. 
In 1813 he was sent to Congress, and at xhe 
the close of his second term he resumed the Lawyer 
practice of law, having in the meantime removed his 
residence to Boston, The celebrated "Dartmouth 
College Case," which he argued before the Supreme 
Court at Washington, in 1818, gave him national fame 
as one of the greatest of constitutional lawyers. The 
simple language, charged with intense feeling, with 
which the argument closed, was so effective as to 



214 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

bring tears to the eyes of Chief Justice Marshall. 
" It iSj sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet 
there are those who love it." Such words as these, 
uttered with quivering lips and voice tremulous with 
emotion, were more powerful than argument. 

Webster's reputation as an orator was established 
by an oration delivered at Plymouth, in 1820, com- 
memorating the two hundredth anniversary of the 
landing of the Pilgrims. The address was published 
and received with wide enthusiasm. ''It had more 
literary success," says his biographer, " than anything 
which had at that time appeared, except from the pen 
of Washington Irving. The public, without stopping 
to analyze their own feelings, or the oration itself, 
recognized at once that a new genius had come before 
The them, a man endowed with the noble gift 

Orator Qf eloquence, and capable by the exercise 

of his talents of moving and inspiring great masses 
of his fellow-men." The fame obtained from this 
achievement was increased by the address, in 1825, at 
the laying of the corner-stone of Bunker Hill monu- 
ment, and again the next year by the commemorative 
discourse upon Adams and Jefferson. These orations, 
with the " Second Bunker Hill Oration," must always 
be numbered among American classics. The oration 
upon Adams and Jefferson contains the familiar " sup- 
posed" speech of John Adams, beginning, "Sink or 
swim, live or die, survive or perish, I give my hand 
and my heart to this vote." 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 215 

Webster returned to Congress in 1823, and the rest 
of his years were spent in the public service. He en- 
tered the Senate in 1827 and reached the zenith of 
his oratorical and political reputation in the remark- 
able speech, January 26, 1830, known as the " Reply 
to Hayne." Calhoun, the " great nullilier," was in the 
vice-president's chair; the elaborate and ingenious 
system of arguments evolved by his acute mind for 
severing the Union by constitutional au- xhe " Reply 
thority was unfolded by his lieutenant, *° Hayne 
Robert Y. Hayne. Realizing the peril to the Union, 
arising from the specious doctrine of "state rights," 
Webster summoned all his splendid powers for a reply 
and made a triumphant defense of the Constitution, 
which delayed the inevitable conflict for thirty years. 
Its closing words, "Liberty and Union, now and 
forever, one and inseparable," have ever since served 
as the rallying cry of patriots. " ¥ov genuine oratori- 
cal power," says Fiske, " the Reply to Hayne is prob- 
ably the greatest speech that has been delivered since 
the oration of Demosthenes on the Crown. . , . Prob- 
ably no other speech ever made in Congress has found 
so many readers, or exerted so much influence in giving 
shape to men's thoughts." 

In 1833 Calhoun became senator in Hayne's place, 
and for seventeen years continued the contest with 
Webster over the Constitution. Twice Webster was 
called to the office of secretary of state, and per- 
formed the duties of the position with great skill and 



216 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

credit. There was one more exalted position, the 
highest honor in the gift of the people, to which he 
now aspired. Ambition, that " last infirmity of noble 
minds," the desire to be president, so colored his last 
years as to detract much from the clear glory of re- 
nown with which his countrymen would have crowned 
him, as the noblest reward for his illustrious services. 

m.. o *,. Statesman though he was, he could not 
The Seventh ^ ' 

of March wholly rise above the politician. His last 
^^^^ great speech, " On the Constitution and 

the Union," delivered in the Senate, March 7th, 1850, 
has generally been regarded as an attempt to con- 
ciliate the South by accepting the compromise meas- 
ures of Clay, including the Fugitive Slave Law, so 
odious to the North. At the South the speech gained 
for him not one vote ; at the North it was received 
with astonishment, indignation, and sorroAv. He had 
proved false, so it seemed, to himself, to his friends, 
and to his country. The terrible denunciation of 
Whittier's poem " Ichabod " represented the feeling 
of the large body of people then enlisted in the 
antislavery movement. This poem is said to have 
" wounded the great heart of its subject more than 
any other stroke that ever smote his mighty fore- 
head." ^ His desire to preserve the Union, the heart's 
desire of his whole life, may have induced him, as his 
apologists maintain, to make all possible sacrifices; 
even so, his chief sacrifice was himself. The technical 
1 George F. Hoar, Scribner's Magazine, July, 1899. 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 217 

argument of the speech was probably correct, but the 
moral attitude of it was a blunder, through which he 
lost the opportunity of making himself the leader of 
the great movement that was soon to bring to final 
settlement the questions to which his life had been 
devoted. Disappointment and embitterment, arising 
from political defeat and public criticism, hastened 
the work of disease, which brought his life to a close 
at his home in Marshfield, October 24, 1852. His last 
words were, " I still live." In his noblest orations 
he must continue to live as long as the Constitution 
lives, to the preservation of which his life was dedi- 
cated. 

The personality of Webster was one of extraordinary 
impressiveness ; his manner was imperial, Olympian, 
and his power was massive and colossal. He im- 
pressed all classes alike with a sense of the might 
and magnificence of irresistible strength. A remark- 
able combination of physical and mental endowments 
contributed to this effect. He was strong in physique, 
dignified in bearing, with splendidly molded head, 
swarthy face, beetling brows, deeply shading eyes that 
burned like fire in moments of passion, and a most 
noble forehead, "the front of Jove him- Webster's 
self." A Liverpool navvy, seeing him Personality 
walking along the street, cried out, " There goes a 
king ! " Carlyle pronounced him to be '' a magnifi- 
cent specimen," who looked "like a walking ca- 
thedral." When speaking he seldom moved or made 



218 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

a gesture, yet audiences would listen with spellbound 
attention. His voice was rich, flexible, and of great 
compass, flutelike or trumpet-toned as thought or oc- 
casion required. In private life he was as gentle and 
pleasing as in public life he was powerful. " His 
goodly person, his gracious bearing, and his benignant 
courtesy made him the delight of every circle he en- 
tered ; in the presence of ladies, especially, his great 
powers seemed to robe themselves spontaneously in 
beauty." 

For a generation Webster was the political oracle of 
New England, accepted, revered, almost worshiped. 
Citizens of Boston who had seen him a score of times 
would leave their work to gaze at the wonderful man 
His as he passed in the streets. His great 

Influence speeches were read and studied in every 
household. He was the people's instructor in politi- 
cal doctrine, and gave to them new ideals of union 
and nationality. Love of a united country, as a dis- 
tinct American virtue, was mainly his creation ; he 
was the author of modern patriotism. Before Web- 
ster's time " Freedom " was the talismanic word of 
Americans ; since his time, that word has been 
" Union." 

Of all our statesmen who have exerted a great and 
permanent influence upon national affairs, Webster is 
the only one who can fairly be counted among American 
men of letters. He occupies in this respect the posi- 
tion held by Burke in English literature. His speeches 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 219 

are literary as well as oratorical, because they are more 
than local and temporary, because they contain the 
elements of literary permanency — great thoughts ex- 
pressed in artistic forms. Upon two simple funda- 
mental qualities, clearness and strength, he built up a 
style distinctly his own, — plain, precise, unaffected, and 

powerful; rising at times from the level of 

' . n ^^' , His Style 

fact and logic into passages of sublime elo- 
quence, when he was moved by some grand thought or 
passion. There is little ornament, only here and there 
a swelling climax and a magnificent metaphor. His 
speech moves on with a majestic rhythm, like that of 
the ocean, always dignified, stately, and masterful. 
The illustrations are clear-cut and vivid; the mere 
statement of facts is sometimes so striking as to serve 
for demonstration ; and the climax of a dry argument 
is often capped by a forcible touch of the imagination 
that lifts the whole discourse into the realm of art. 
He carefully revised his speeches before publication, 
with scrupulous regard for exactness, rather than 
beauty of expression. It is related that he handed 
the Adams and Jefferson oration to a student in his 
office, with the direction to " weed out all the Latin 
words." His preference for sturdy Saxon was not 
prejudice or affectation, but merely solicitude to make 
his language a perfect expression of himself. 

The style of Webster, at its best, is the "grand 
style " of the classic masters. Professor Peck calls it 
Roman in both spirit and expression. " The closest 



220 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

parallel to it is to be found in the oratory of Cicero. 
Its rhetoric is as perfect in its choice of phrase, in its 
Webster and inarshaling of the sentences, in the rhyth- 
Cicero mical swing of its cadences, and in the 

beauty and exquisite fitness of its imagery. Yet it is 
far superior to Cicero's in this, that we are never con- 
scious in Webster of that combination of weakness and 
insincerity, of pose and special pleading which the 
Ciceronian oratory exhibits, nor of the cheap facil- 
ity of the trained advocate who can argue with equal 
plausibility on any side of every question. Webster 
was always intensely in earnest; the note of perfect 
conviction dominates his utterances ; and there is an 
undercurrent of the passion that stirs the blood and 
gives enduring vitality to the words and thoughts of 
the inspired orator." ^ 

The peculiar eminence of Webster's oratory is shown 
by any comparison with that of his eloquent contem- 
poraries; their most brilliant efforts have faded into 
tradition, while his remain among the inspiring clas- 
sics of our literature. '^ Even his words have embedded 
themselves in the common phraseology, and come to 
Literary the tongue like passages from the psalms or 

Permanency ^^q poets. I do not know that a sentence 
or a word of Sumner's repeats itself in our everyday 
parlance. The exquisite periods of Everett are recalled 
like the consummate work of some master of music, 
but no note or refrain sings itself over and over again 
1 Carpenter's "American Prose," p. 103. 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 221 

to our ears. The brilliant eloquence of Choate is like 
the flash of a bursting rocket, lingering upon the retina, 
indeed, after it has faded from the wings of night, but 
as elusive of our grasp as spray-drops that glisten in 
the sun. But Webster made his language the very 
household words of a nation." ^ 

Nor is Webster's eminence affected by comparison 
with the great masters of English eloquence. "As an 
orator of reason," says Goldwin Smith, "he has no 
superior if he has an equal in the English language." ^ 
He did not possess the brilliant wit of Sheridan, nor 
the charm and versatility of Eox ; but he was superior 
to both in rhetorical taste, finished style, and power of 
argument. " The man with whom Webster is oftenest 
compared is of course Burke," says Lodge. " It may 
be conceded at once that in creative imagi- websterand 
nation and in richness of imagery and Ian- ^^^^^ 
guage Burke ranks above Webster. But no one would 
ever have said of Webster as Goldsmith did of Burke : — 

Who, too deep for his hearers, still went on refining. 
And thought of convincing while they thought of dining. 

Webster never sinned by over-refinement, or over- 
ingenuity, for both were utterly foreign to his nature. 
Still less did he impair his power in the Senate as 
Burke did in the Commons by talking too often and 
too much. If he did not have the extreme beauty 

iJohn D. Long, "After-dinner and Other Speeches." 
2 " The United States," p. 181. 



222 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

and grace of which Burke was capable, he was more 
forcible, and struck harder and more weighty blows." 
Webster was not free from the temptations and 
frailties of greatness, and his private life was not 
without reproach. He earned large sums of money, 
but spent more than he earned, and allowed his 
friends to assume the burden of his debts. "And 
yet," says Parton, " such was the power of his genius, 
such was the charm of his manner, such the affection- 
ateness of his nature, such the robust heartiness of his 
enjoyment of life that honorable men who knew his 
faults best loved him to the last." His qualities are 
well summarized by Carl Schurz : "Not indeed an 
Final originator of policies and measures, but a 

Summary marvelous expounder of principles, laws, 
and facts, who illumined every topic of public concern 
he touched with the light of a sovereign intelligence 
and vast knowledge, who by overpowering argument 
riveted around the Union unbreakable bonds of con- 
stitutional doctrine ; who awaked to new life and ani- 
mated with invincible vigor the national spirit; who 
left to his countrymen and to the world invaluable 
lessons of statesmanship, right, and patriotism, in 
language of grand simplicity and prodigiously force- 
ful clearness ; and who might stand as its greatest 
man in the political history of America, had he been 
a master character as he was a master mind." 

Class Study. — First Bunker Hill Oration ; Oration on 
Adams and Jefferson ; The Reply to Hayne. 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 223 

Class Reading. — Second Bunker Hill Oration ; First Settle- 
ment of New England (Plymouth Oration) ; Opening passage 
of the Argument in the White Murder Trial ; The Drum- 
beat of England passage in The Presidential Protest ; The 
Character of Washington. 

Biography and Criticism. — Curtis's "Life of Daniel Web- 
ster." Lodge's "Daniel Webster" (American Statesmen). 
Parton's "Famous Americans." Appleton's "Cyclopaedia of 
American Biography" (John Fiske). Hapgood's "Daniel 
Webster" (Beacon Biographies). Wolfe's "Literary Shrines." 
Everett's "Orations and Speeches," Vols. Ill, IV. Cham- 
berlain's " John Adams and Other Essays." Lodge's " Studies 
in History." Whipple's "American Literature" (Webster as 
a Master of English Style), and "Essays and Reviews," Vol. 
I. Library of the World's Best Literature (Carl Schurz). 
Robert C. Winthrop's "Webster's Reply to Hayne" (Scrib- 
ner^s Magazine, January, 1894). Sparks's "Men Who Made 
the Nation." Century Magazine, Nov., 1900, March, June, 
Sept., 1901 (McMaster). 

Holmes's " Birthday of Daniel Webster." Emerson's "Web- 
ster." Whittier's " Ichabod " and " The Lost Occasion." Wil- 
kinson's " Webster : An Ode." 



EVERETT, CHOATE, PHILLIPS, SUMNER, LINCOLN 

" The Nemesis of public speaking/' says Higginson, 
— " the thing that seems to make it almost worthless 
in the long run — is the impossibility of making it tell 
for anything after its moment is past." This melan- 
choly truth is well illustrated by the minor orators of 
this period whose greatness became a tradition almost as 
soon as their voices were silent. Edward Everett, who 
was successively a professor, preacher, editor, member 
of (yongress, minister to England, secretary of state, 



224 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

governor of Massachusetts, and president of Harvard 
College^ was justly celebrated for his extensive schol- 
Edward arship, fine classical tastes, and broad cul- 

Everett, ture, and for the eloquence and elegance of 

1794-1 5 j^ig n occasional " addresses. Fame distin- 
guishes him as "the most accomplished gentleman 
of his time," and the inspiring influence of his bril- 
liant presence was, says Emerson, " almost comparable 
to that of Pericles in Athens." His popularity as 
a lecturer is unsurpassed in America; the lecture on 
" Washington " was delivered nearly one hundred and 
fifty times. His style was too palpably ornamented to 
conceal its art. The long, smooth, classical sentences 
are beautifully balanced and highly decorated. Dr. 
Holmes calls them " full-blown, high-colored, double- 
flowered periods," and to Emerson "all his speech 
was music." Yet now this coruscating rhetoric is 
almost as obsolete as the knightly trappings of 
chivalry. 

The fame of Rufus Choate, lawyer, statesman, and 
orator, is closely associated with that of Webster. 
He was a graduate of Dartmouth and a member of 
Congress from Massachusetts, taking Webster's place 

in the Senate in 1841 : he divided the 
Rufus ' 

Choate, honors of the bar with Webster, and his 

I79&-I 59 most famous oration is the " Eulogy on 

Daniel Webster." Eemarkable for his effectiveness 
before juries, and justly held to be the " first of Ameri- 
can lawyers," he was equally remarkable for qualities 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 225 

purely scholastic. His mind would not be limited to 
law. Scholarly in tastes and broad in literary attain- 
ment, he acquired an almost phenomenal command of 
the English language, his vocabulary comparing in 
extent with that of the great poets, even Milton and 
Shakspere. His style is Oriental in its florid opulence. 
He piles up adjectives with a gorgeous richness of 
effect, much like that which the painter produces by 
the laying on of successive colors; it has been said 
of him that he " drives a substantive and six " ; and 
his sentences are often marvels of elaborate rhetori- 
cal structure. Such orations as the "Eulogy on 
Webster," " The Eloquence of Revolutionary Periods," 
and " American Nationality " have not yet lost all their 
charm, and should be studied as illustrations of a lofty 
classical manner of speech unknown to the present 
generation. 

Robert C. Winthrop, who began his career as a law 
student in the office of Daniel Webster, resembled his 
fellow-orators of Boston in the amplitude of his classi- 
cal culture and in his popularity as an orator of his- 
torical and commemorative occasions, which he graced 
with a refined and stately eloquence. He was the 
orator at the laying of the corner-stone of the Wash- 
ington monument, in 1848, and at its dedication in 
1885. 

The antislavery movement had its own orator, its 
statesman, its poet, and its novelist. Its orator was 
Wendell Phillips, whose tongue was like a flaming 



226 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

sword, and who never abated his burning arraignment 
of the national conscience until the cause of the 
slave was won. 

A sower of infinite seed was he, a 

Woodman that hewed toward the light, 

Who dared to be traitor to Union when 
Union was traitor to right ! 

Possessing by nature the resources of a great pub- 
lic speaker, a gracious presence, fine voice, large 
stores of ready knowledge, wit and humor, mas- 
terly power of denunciation, and a fearless spirit, 
he could with almost equal facility captivate a cul- 
tured audience or conquer a hostile one. 
Phillips, James Bryce regards him as "one of the 

4 jiY^j^ orators of the present century, and not 

more remarkable for the finish than for the transparent 
simplicity of his style." Recalling the marvelous 
charm of his speaking — as inexplicable "as the 
secret of the rose's sweetness " — Curtis says : " What 
was heard, what was seen, was the form of noble man- 
hood, the courteous and self-possessed tone, the flow 
of modulated speech, sparkling with matchless rich- 
ness of illustration, with apt allusion and happy anec- 
dote and historic parallel, with wit and pitiless 
invective, with melodious pathos, with stinging satire, 
with crackling epigram and limpid humor, like the 
bright ripples that play around the sure and steady 
prow of the resistless ship. Like an illuminated vase 
of odors, he glowed with concentrated and perfumed 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 227 

tire." After the work of emancipation had been 
accomplished, Phillips continued before the public 
many years with such popular lectures as " The Lost 
Arts " and " Toussaint I'Ouverture." 

The leader of the abolitionists in Congress was 
Charles Sumner, a man whose "soul was on fire 
with moral enthusiasm," who impressed himself as a 
speaker, not so much by eloquence, or argument, or am- 
plitude of knowledge, as by intense moral earnestness. 
Academic in his tastes, preferring books, claries 
travel, and cultivated society to public life, sumner, 
he was forced by a sense of duty into the ^ ""^ ^^ 
swirling tide of agitation against slavery, and con- 
tinued to the end of his life to be the negro's devoted 
and chivalrous champion. He was aggressive, im- 
petuous, and uncompromising ; of all men in Congress, 
the slaveholders feared and hated him most. The 
love of right was a passion with him, and all his ener- 
gies were engaged in making right prevail. " His ample 
learning and various accomplishments were rivaled 
among American public men only by those of John 
Quincy Adams, and during all the fury of political 
passion in which he lived, there was never a whisper 
or suspicion of his political honesty or his personal 
integrity." He was a noble example of what an 
American statesman ought to be. The celebrated 
address on " The True Grandeur of Nations," delivered 
in Boston, July 4, 1845, established his fame as an 
orator ; the most famous of his parliamentary speeches 



228 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

is "The Crime against Kansas." The twelve volumes 
of his speeches contain much living matter, for the 
lofty ideals that guide his thinking, the moral fervor 
that fills his words, and the varied learning that 
everywhere enriches his expression, give a literary 
interest to invaluable historical material. 

The work begun by Garrison, the "Liberator," was 
consummated by Lincoln, the " Great Emancipator." 
The memory of this wise, noble, large- 
Lincoln, hearted, plain man of the people, is a pre- 
I 09-1 5 cious legacy to Americans. No president 
— not even Washington — has won so large a place in 
the hearts of his countrymen. It is fortunate, there- 
fore, that he left some expression of himself possess- 
ing the permanency of literature. Without literary 
training or tastes, and with no thought of literary 
production, Lincoln gave to the world two or three 
literary masterpieces. Unconscious of style, and of 
the arts by which style is cultivated, he shaped for 
himself a style that for simplicity, directness, and 
strength is unsurpassed in American prose. The 
secret of this style is largely explained by two quali- 
ties of his nature, sincerity and deep human sym- 
pathy ; when speaking he devoutly purposed that his 
words should stand for his thought and feeling, noth- 
ing else, and he profoundly desired to make them 
helpful to humanity. 

The brief address at the dedication of the National 
Cemetery at Gettysburg has been called " the top and 



V] 



THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 



229 



crown of American eloquence." This unique expres- 
sion of the solemn significance of the great conflict and 
of the responsibilities resting upon patri- Gettysburg 
otic citizens was a classic from the moment Address 
of its utterance. It is a striking contrast to the sono- 
rous and elabo- 



rate eloquence of 
Webster and 
Everett ; indeed, 
it marks a new 
era in public 
speaking ; since 
Lincoln's day, 
orators have 
learned that the 
only sure way to 
be effective is to 
be honest and 
natural. 

But greater 
even than the 
Gettysburg ad- 
dress, and more characteristic, in the judgment of 
Schurz, is the " Second Inaugural," in which " he 
poured out the whole devotion and tender- second 
ness of his great soul. It had all the inaugural 
solemnity of a father's last admonition and blessing 
to his children before he lay down to die." Beneath 
the awkward exterior of the man, beneath the homely 




Abraham Lincoln 



230 AMEKICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

wit and irrepressible humor that lighted up the sur- 
face of his life, there was a serious and pathetic 
nature, a spirit of melancholy, weighed down by the 
burdens of his fellow-men. "The inner forces of his 
nature played through his thought; and when great 
occasions touched him to the quick, his whole nature 
shaped his speech and gave it clear intelligence, deep 
feeling, and that beauty which is distilled out of the 
depths of the sorrows and hopes of the world." ^ 

Among the antislavery agitators should be counted 
America's most celebrated pulpit orator, Henry Ward 
Beecher, who from both pulpit and platform spoke for 
the cause with a voice of astonishing eloquence and 
persuasive power. The series of addresses, given in 
England for the purpose of overcoming the hostility 
Henry Ward ^^ *^^ English people toward the North 
Beecher, during the Civil War, is probably without a 

^ ^^ ^ parallel in the history of oratory. His elo- 

quence was spontaneous, fervid, strong in apt illustra- 
tion, rich in humor, and abounding in original and 
striking forms of statement. During his long career as 
pastor of Plymouth church, Brooklyn, he contributed 
extensively to periodical literature and published many 
books, covering a wide variety of subjects and showing 
his versatility of mind and broad human interests. 
They range from " Lectures to Young Men," " Aids to 
Prayer," and "Life Thoughts" to "Pleasant Talk 

1 Hamilton W. Mabie, "Library of the World's Best Liter- 
ature." 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 231 

about Fruit, Flowers, and Farming," "Freedom and 
War," " Evolution and Religion," "Norwood," a novel 
of indifferent merit, and a "Life of Christ" of no merit 
at all. His most popular books were the two series of 
" Star Papers," and his best work is now to be found 
in the eleven volumes of his " Sermons," which were 
committed to writing by a stenographer as they were 
delivered. Like the work of so many others whose 
highest quality of genius is chiefly expressed through 
the living voice, Beecher's work was largely temporary 
in interest and influence. The magic of his personality 
is not felt in the printed page. 

Class Study. — Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address," and "Sec- 
ond Inaugural" ; Choate's "Eulogy on Daniel Webster." 

Class Reading. — Lincoln's "First Inaugural"; Everett's 
"Gettysburg Oration " ; Phillips's " Toussaint I'Ouverture " ; 
Sumner's "True Grandeur of Nations." 

Biography and Criticism. — Nicolay and Hay's "Abraham 
Lincoln: A History." Herndon's "Abraham Lincoln: True 
Story of a Great Life." Morse's "Abraham Lincoln" (Ameri- 
can Statesmen). Brooks's "Abraham Lincoln " (Heroes of the 
Nation). Chittenden's "Recollections of President Lincoln." 
Carl Schurz's "Abraham Lincoln." Sumner's "Eulogy on 
Lincoln" (Works, Vol. IX). Lowell's "Political Essays" 
(Prose Works, Vol. V). Everett's "Orations and Speeches," 
Vol. IV. Harrison's " George Washington and other Ad- 
dresses." Lowell's " Commemoration Ode." Stoddard's 
"Abraham Lincoln." Maurice Thompson's "Lincoln's 
Grave." Whitman's " My Captain." Edwin Markham's 
"Abraham Lincoln." —Dana's "Life and Public Services of 
Edward Everett." Appleton's "Cyclopaedia of American 
Biography." Emerson's " Life and Letters in New England." 
Whipple's "Character and Characteristic Men." — Austin's 



232 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

"Life and Times of Wendell Phillips." Martyn's "Wendell 
Phillips" (American Reformers). Curtis's "Orations and 
Addresses," Vol. III. Julia Ward Howe's "Reminiscences." 
Aldrich's " Monody on the Death of Wendell Phillips." John 
Boyle O'Reilly's " Wendell Phillips." — Pierce's "Memoirs and 
Letters of Charles Sumner." Storey's "Charles Sumner" 
(American Statesmen). Grimk^'s " Charles Sumner, the Scholar 
in Politics" (American Reformers). Curtis's "Orations and 
Addresses," Vol. III. Whipple's "Recollections of Eminent 
Men." Higginson's "Contemporaries." Longfellow's "Charles 
Sumner" and "Three Friends." Whittier's "To C. S." 
and "Sumner." — Neilson's "Memories of Rufus Choate." 
Whipple's "Recollections of Eminent Men." 



JOHN GREENLEAF WHITTIER 

1807-1892 

John Greenleaf Whittier was born in Haverhill, 
Mass., December 17, .1807, in an isolated farm- 
house that had been the home of his paternal ancestors 
for four generations. Near by is the Merrimac, cele- 
brated in his poems, and not far away the ocean can 
be heard breaking on Salisbury beach. The simple 
Quaker household is faithfully described in " Snow- 
bound." The mother was a refined and saintly woman. 
The Quaker whose qualities were repeated in her gifted 
^°y son. To a story -telling uncle, " innocent 

of books," but " rich in lore of fields and brooks," he 
owed the first kindling of his imagination. Like 
every farmer's boy, he was kept busy with "chores," 
and allowed but scant privileges of education. The 



V] 



THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 



233 



knowledge he gained was largely that of his "Bare- 
foot Boy " : — 

Knowledge never learned of schools, 
Of the wild bee's morning chase, 
Of the wild flower's time and place, 
Flight of fowl and habitude 
Of the tenants of the wood. 



There were few books in the home except the Bible 
and memorials of Quaker saints; but these he read 
until he knew 
them by heart, as 
well as all the 
books he could 
borrow ; once he 
enjoyed with his 
sister the stolen 
delight of a Wav- 
erley novel, and 
also a copy of 
Shakspere, which 
he obtained while 
visiting a rela- 
tive in Boston 
and carried home 

with a troubled John Greenleaf Whittier 

conscience. 

When he was about fourteen, a schoolmaster one even- 
ing read aloud to the family Burns' s poems. The boy 
listened spellbound, and from that evening he was a 




234 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



poet. It was a revelation that "home-seen nature," 
such as a farmer's boy knew, could be poetical. Burns 
became his inspiration and model, and to his memory 
The Young ^^ P^i<i ^^ after years a noble and loyal 
poetic tribute. He wrote verses profusely, 
poets, encouraged by his 



Poet 



imitating Burns and other 




Whittier's Birthplace 

sister, who became his first literary agent. Believing 
his poems to be as good as others in the poet's corner 
of the local newspaper, she sent one without his 
knowledge to the editor; when the paper came to the 
boy poet, while at work with his father upon a stone 
wall, his " heart stood still for a moment " with strange 
delight at finding his own verses in print. The editor, 
the young William Lloyd Garrison, discovered his 
modest contributor and urged the father to give him 



v] THE ANTISLAVEEY MOVEMENT 235 

an education. Such was the first acquaintance, in 
1826, of these two distinguished antislavery agitators. 
It was now agreed that Greenleaf should attend the 
Haverhill Academy, on condition that he paid his own 
way, which he did for a little more than a year, mainly 
by making slippers at eight cents a pair. A few terms 
in the district school and this year in the academy 
constituted the whole of Whittier's scholastic career ; 
it was the more significant tribute to his worth and 
culture, therefore, w^hen in later life he was elected an 
overseer of Harvard University. 

He now drifted easily into journalism, aided by his 
friend Garrison, and held for brief periods editorial 
positions in Boston, Hartford, and Philadelphia. 
While at Hartford, in 1831, he published his first book, 
"Legends of New England, in Prose and Verse," a 
book that his riper judgment consigned to the fire 
whenever a copy came in his way. In spite of his 
Quaker heritage and inherent gentleness, The Quaker 
he was strongly drawn toward a political Politician 
career, and for many years he played an active part in 
the political turmoil of the times. As he himself put 
it, he "threw the rough armor of rude and turbulent 
controversy over a keenly sensitive bosom." Poetry 
was long "incidental to politics." In 1833 he pub- 
lished, at his own expense, a vigorous pamphlet on the 
slavery question, entitled "Justice and Expediency." 
This ruined his political prospects at once, and closed 
the columns of many periodicals to his poetry. But 



236 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

he made the sacrifice deliberately, and cast in his lot 
with the little band of detested ''abolitionists." He 
was made secretary of the Antislavery Society, and 
signed the famous " Declaration of Sentiments," framed 
by Garrison. Of this he once said, "I set a higher 
value on my name as appended to the Antislavery 
Declaration of 1833 than on the title page of any book." 
He had now consecrated himself to a great cause, 
and a marked change appeared in his poetry; the 
earnest and vigorous soul of the reformer entered into 
A New i^- He had written hundreds of pleasing. 

Inspiration rhetorical poems that had circulated widely 
and brought him flattering fame, but very few of these 
by his own desire were retained in final editions of his 
works. The true poet was first heard in the poems 
upon slavery, which he now wrote in rapid succession, 
trumpet calls to duty, swift and fearless attacks like 
the speeches of Phillips and Garrison, "hammer 
strokes against flinty prejudices." In impetuous, 
ringing stanzas, he poured forth his hot indignation, 
startling the conscience of the whole nation. Against 
the recreant clergy he cries out : — 

How long, Lord ! how long 

Shall such a priesthood barter truth away, 

And in thy name, for robbery and wrong 
At thy own altars pray ? 

For the pursuers of fugitive slaves he has a song of 
stinging irony, "The Hunters of Men," and another 
for the auctioneer in the slave market; — 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 237 

A Christian ! going, gone ! 
Who bids for God's own image ? 

And in "Massachusetts to Virginia" he sounds a 
" blast from Freedom's Northern hills " as terrible in 
its deep-toned scorn and denunciation as the voice of 
an ancient prophet. 

Whitter once remarked that he must have inherited 
"somewhat of the grim Berserker spirit." He was a 
good fighter in a righteous cause, lacking neither 
physical nor moral courage. While editing the Free- 
man, in Philadelphia, his office was sacked and 
burned, and on several occasions his life was en- 
dangered by mob violence. Ill health ^ Good 
frequently forced him to retire to the ^igi^ter 
quiet of his home, yet he always kept well to the 
front of the conflict. "Whenever occasion offered," 
says Lowell, "some burning lyric of his flew across 
the country like the fiery cross to warn and rally." 
He was the trusted adviser of statesmen, and a skillful 
manager of conventions and other political move- 
ments; twice he represented his native town in the 
state legislature, and once, in 1843, would have been 
sent to Congress, had he not become alarmed at the 
prospect of being elected and withdrawn his candi- 
dacy. He wrote extensively in both prose and verse 
for the National Era, the chief organ of the anti- 
slavery party. The first number contained the fine 
poem, " Randolph of Roanoke." Here first appeared 
" Maud Muller," " Angels of Buena Vista," and " Icha- 



238 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

bod," and also, in serial fbrm, "Margaret Smith's 
Journal," a pleasing description of old time manners 
and customs in New England. 

The first collection of Whittier's poems appeared in 
1837, and a second collection in 1839. In 1843 " Lays 
of My Home" appeared, the first book to bring the 
poet any pecuniary return, the others having been 
published in the interest of " the cause." The slavery 
poems were gathered into a volume, in 1849, with the 
title " Voices of Freedom," and this was followed the 
next year by the " Songs of Labor," celebrating in 
easy -flowing and popular, though not especially poeti- 
cal, verses the homely beauty of shoemaking, fishing, 
lumbering, and other forms of common toil. Without 
diminution of patriotic zeal, Whittier was now turn- 
ing his thoughts more frequently to the 
Poetic poetry of his home surroundings, and we 

begin to hear the firm strains of nature- 
loving and domestic song that constituted his final 
fame. About this time Longfellow, after meeting 
him, wrote in his journal, "He grows milder and 
mellower as does his poetry." But his Tyrtaean strain 
did not cease until the slave was free and the Union 
saved, and throughout the great conflict among the 
most powerful leaders was this Quaker knight of the 
pen. His reform poetry closed with the noble paean 
"Laus Deo." While sitting in the Friends' meeting, 
he heard the bells ringing out the glad news of the 
passage of the constitutional amendment abolishing 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 239 

slavery, and this hymn of thankfulness took shape in 
his mind. The hopes and trials of thirty years were 
gloriously consummated : — 

It is done ! 

Clang of bell and roar of gun 
Send the tidings up and down. 

How the belfries rock and reel ! 

How the great guns, peal on peal, 
Fling the joy from town to town ! 

In 1836 Whittier sold the old farm and purchased 
a modest cottage in Amesbury, which continued to be 
his home for fifty years. "With him in this delightful 
hermitage, kept with exquisite Quaker neatness, were 
his mother and his gifted sister Elizabeth, whose 
sympathetic and helpful relations to her brother 
remind us of Dorothea Wordsworth. The greatest 
calamity of Whittier's life was the death of this sister 
in 1864, seven years after the death of his mother. 
"The great motive of life seems lost," he Domestic 
wrote to a friend. The shadowed home Poetry 
now stimulated his memories of the old home at 
Haverhill, and out of his devoted love and tenderness 
grew his masterpiece, "Snow-bound, a Winter Idyl," 
which was published in 1866, with a success rivaling 
that of "Evangeline." This beautiful fireside idyl 
is worthily compared with Goldsmith's "Deserted 
Village," the "Winter Evening" in Cowper's "Task," 
and Burns's " Cotter's Saturday Night." " It is perfect 
in its conception and complete in its execution; it is 



240 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the New England home, entire, with its characteristic 
scene, its incidents of household life, its Christian 
virtues. It is, in a peculiar sense, the one poem of 
New England — so completely indigenous that the 
soil has fairly created it, so genuine as to be better 
than history."^ 

"Snow-bound" was followed the next year by the 
"Tent on the Beach," a series of narrative poems 
woven together in the manner of Longfellow's " Tales 
of a Wayside Inn." Whittier was now universally 
loved. Even his enemies had forgiven him. Among 
the many tributes from fellow-poets was genuine praise 
from the Southern poet, Paul H. Hayne. The 
vehement reformer had disappeared from his poetry, 
Happy and the simple bucolic poet stood forth, 

Old Age singing the very heart songs of the people. 

The years of his long old age he spent in happy enjoy- 
ment of the rewards of fame, leisurely busy always 
with his pen. In 1890 he published a small volume 
privately for his friends ; of one of these poems Lowell 
wrote : " Your ' Captain's Well ' seems to me in your 
happiest vein. Tears came to my eyes as I read it." 
Eour weeks after writing a birthday poem " To Oliver 
Wendell Holmes," he died at the home of a relative in 
Hampton Falls, N. H., September 7, 1892. Character- 
istic of his fine heart, as shown through life, were his 
dying words, "My love — to — the — world." 

Of the New England poets Whittier owed least to the 
1 Professor Woodberry, Atlantic Monthly, November, 1892. 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 241 

culture of books and society. He lived all his life in 

close contact with humble workers with the hand ; he 

would not have breathed naturally in the intellectual 

atmosphere of Cambridge; he had little companionship 

with scholars and the world's great men, but the men 

who followed the plow and built stone 

^ Personality 

walls were his brothers. He loved better 
to discuss politics with his neighbors in the village 
store than to meet the literary people of Boston in 
Mrs. Fields's parlors. " He talks just like common 
folks," said one of his neighbors; "we was talkin' 
about the apples one day, and he said, ' Some years 
they ain't wuth pickin' ' — just like anybody, you 
know." This nearness to " common folks," to honest, 
rude, laboring manhood, was the source of his strength 
and popularity. He was shy and reticent among 
strangers, but was not unsocial by nature nor a hermit 
by choice; delicate health accounts for much of his 
recluseness. He knew Europe only through books, 
he was never farther from home than Washington, he 
was never in a theater. He always wore the Quaker 
coat, always in conversation clung to the ungram- 
matical Quaker pronouns, and attended faithfully the 
old-fashioned Quaker meeting of solemn silences. 
Hazlitt thought that "a Quaker poet would be a 
literary phenomenon." Whittier himself occasionally 
smiled at his Quaker coat when blowing his battle 
trumpet. In the " Tent on the Beach " he draws a 
portrait of himself : — 



242 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

A silent, shy, peace-loving man, 
He seemed no fiery partisan. 

But everything tliat lie wrote was a faithful and genu- 
ine expression of his nature. 

The character of Whittier as a poet is well defined 
by the historian Parkman ; he is " The poet of New 
England. His genius drew its nourishment from her 
soil ; his pages are the mirror of her outward nature, 
and the strong utterance of her inward life." Like 
Burns, he is a rustic poet of his native fields, speaking 
the language of the people with whom he was born. 
" As a bucolic poet of his own section," says Stedman, 
" rendering its pastoral life and aspect, Whittier sur- 
passes all rivals." But his poetry is provincial only 
in its local coloring ; its sentiment is universal, for the 
greater number of the human family live in close con- 
Poetic ^^ct with the soil. His main theme is love 

Qualities of home, humanity, and God. Duty to 
country and to his fellow-man was his first great 
inspiration, and for thirty years he made poetry an 
instrument of reform, thus sacrificing in the heat of 
campaign vehemence the finer graces of thought and 
expression demanded by true art. Only a few of the 
slavery poems rise above a temporary and historic 
interest. His finest poetry belongs to the second period 
of his career, when he exchanged his character as 
"Freedom's Trumpeter" for that of the gentle "Hermit 
of Amesbury." In the " Proem " he states his con- 
scious limitations with characteristic modesty : — 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 243 

I love the old melodious lays 

Which softly melt the ages through, 

The songs of Spenser's golden days, 

Arcadian Sidney's silvery phrase, "^ 

Sprinkling our noon of time with freshest morning dew. 

Yet, vainly in my quiet hours 
To breathe their marvelous notes I try ; 

I feel them, as the leaves and flowers 

In silence feel the dewy showers, 
And drink with glad, still lips the blessing of the sky. 

If reform was the conscience of his poetry, religion 
was its soul. Of all our secular poets he is the most 
religious, preaching always a creed that is broad, 
generous, and beautiful. Of their kind there is noth- 
ing finer in our literature than his hymns, which 
some one has called "so many acts of faith." The 
lofty poem, "The Eternal Goodness," John Bright 
declared to be " worth a crowd of sermons." The 
doubts and questionings in " My Soul and I," " Chapel 
of the Hermits," and "Questions of Life," indicate 
simply that his mind was open to the progressive 
influences of the times. 

His poetic forms are few and simple ; his genius was 
essentially lyrical, and his love of a story made him 
our most natural balladist. " We have no American 
ballad- writer," says Bayard Taylor, "that 
is, writer of ballads founded on our national 
history and tradition, who can be compared with him, 
either in the range or skillful treatment of his mate- 
rial." He was the first to use the Indian legends, 



244 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

but " Mogg Megone " and the " Bridal of Pennacook " 
are heavily overshadowed by '^Hiawatha." With 
legends of witchcraft, Quaker persecution, and other 
themes of local tradition, he was supremely success- 
ful. Folklore is closely associated in his interest 
with external nature. To him nature was not majes- 
tic and solemn, as to Bryant, but cheerful and com- 
fort giving, rather, delighting the senses with the 
perfume of clover, apple blossoms, and beehives. 
Professor Wendell pertinently notes that " the pecul- 
iar character of his poetry of nature is that it is not 
interpretative, but faithfully representative." This 
literalness and directness constitute its special charm. 

Such music as the woods and streams 
Sang in his ear, he sang aloud. 

The faults of his poetry are obvious and forgivable. 

He lacked the power of artistic compression, the dif- 

fuseness of the thought running sometimes into mere 

commonplace. His liking for rhymed tetrameters, due 

perhaps to his early devotion to Burns, pro- 
ms Faults ^ ^ -^ . ' ^ 

duces monotony ; his meter often halts, 

and his rhymes are occasionally atrocious. " I should 

be hung for my bad rhymes anywhere south of 

Mason and Dixon's line," he wrote to his publisher, 

Fields, to whose sensitive ear such rhymes as martyr 

— water, pen — heeyi, were a kind of mild torture. 

But in spite of criticism he generally held to his 

" Yankee rights of pronunciation." However, for his 



V] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 245 

very faults we love him, for they prove him true. He 
did not possess Longfellow's cosmopolitan culture, 
nor Lowell's affluent knowledge of literature, nor 
Holmes's iridescent wit, but his spontaneous direct- 
ness and grand sincerity give to his poetry an effec- 
tiveness that art alone cannot command. 

Although much that Whittier wrote appealed to 
temporary interests, and his chosen audience was 
always the plain people, yet of the permanence of his 
fame there can be little doubt. "Of all American 
poets," says Lowell, "with the single exception of 
Longfellow, Whittier has been the most popular, and 
in his case more than in that of any other the popu- 
larity has been warmed through with affection." 
Says Stoddard : " Men of letters respect his work for 
its sincerity, simplicity, and downright manliness, 
and average readers of poetry respect it because they 
can understand it. There is not a grown man or 
woman in the land who does not readily pinai 
enter into the aspiration and discontent of Judgments 
^ Maud Muller,' and into the glowing patriotism of 
^ Barbara Frietchie.' Whether the incident which is 
the inspiration of the latter ever occurred is more 
than doubtful ; nevertheless, the poem is one that the 
world will not willingly let die. The reputation of 
such poems is immediate and permanent, and beyond 
criticism, favorable or other ; the touch of nature in 
them is beyond all art." ^ 

1 Richard Henry Stoddard, Scribner's Magaziney August, 1879. 



246 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

" To all of us, what Whittier sings is dear. For he 
sings. The tune is simple; but the notes are fresh 
and clear, the melody has the thrill of the robin's 
and the wood thrush's songs, the feeling is that of 
the genuine lyric that comes from the heart, and 
therefore, goes to it. We have not yet had world 
poets in America, but Whittier's verse is that to 
which the American born and bred responds most 
naturally. We must look elsewhere for learning, for 
a philosophy, for exotic beauty. Whittier's was the 
voice that more than a generation ago proclaimed 
most clearly the duty of men, and that now calls us 
most sweetly to thoughts of olden days." ^ 

Class Study. — Snow-bound ; Barefoot Boy ; My Playmate ; 
Proem ; Memories ; Maud Muller ; Skipper Ireson's Ride ; Tell- 
ing the Bees ; Cassandra Southwick ; The Pine Tree ; Randolph 
of Roanoke ; Ichabod ; The Lost Occasion ; Laus Deo ; The 
Last Walk in Autumn ; My Psalm ; The Eternal Goodness. 

Class Reading. — The Tent on the Beach ; Among the Hills 
Prelude to Among the Hills; In School Days; Barbara Frietchie 
The Pipes of Lucknow ; The King's Missive ; The Fishermen 
The Corn Song ; Cobbler Keezar's Vision ; Marguerite ; Massa- 
chusetts to Virginia ; Mabel Martin ; Burns. 
^ Biography and Criticism. — Pickard's " Life and Letters of 
John Greenleaf Whittier." Kennedy's "Life, Genius, and 
Writings of Whittier" and "John Greenleaf Whittier, the 
Poet of Freedom." Underwood's "John Greenleaf Whittier." 
Linton's "John Greenleaf Whittier" (Great Writers). Mrs. 
Fields' s "Whittier: Notes of his Life and Friendships." 
Burton's "John Greenleaf Whittier" (Beacon Biographies). 

1 Professor G. R. Carpenter, " Library of the World's Best 
Literature." 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 247 

Mary B. Claflin's "Personal Recollections of Whittier." 
Flower's " Whittier, Prophet, Seer and Man." Gilder's 
"Authors at Home." Wolfe's "Literary Shrines." Miss 
Mitford's "Recollections of a Literary Life." Shepard's "Pen 
Pictures of Modern Authors. " Stedman's "Poets of America." 
Richardson's " American Literature." Woodberry's " Makers 
of Literature." Wendell's " Stelligeri" and "Literary History 
of America." Lowell's "Fable for Critics." Higginson's 
"Contemporaries." Lawton's "New England Poets." Hazle- 
tine's " Chats about Books, Poets, and Novelists." 

Poets' Tributes. — Longfellow's "Three Silences of Moli- 
nos." Lowell's "To Whittier, on his Seventy-fifth Birthday." 
Holmes's "For Whittier's Seventieth Birthday," "To John 
Greenleaf Whittier," and "In Memory of John Greenleaf 
Whittier." Taylor's "A Friend's Greeting." Hayne's "To 
the Poet Whittier." Stedman's "Ad Vatem" and "Ad 
Vigilem." E. S. Phelps's "Whittier." Lucy Larcom's 
"J. G. W." Cranch's "To John Greenleaf Whittier." 



HARRIET BEECHER STOWE 

1811-1896 

When Lincoln first met Harriet Beecher Stowe, he 
seized her hand saying, " Is this the little woman who 
made this great war?" Such, widely, has been the 
estimate of the influence of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" 
upon American history. Mrs. Stowe was not a great 
writer, but she wrote one great book, and although 
she wrote indefatigably until extreme old age, and 
published thirty volumes of stories and sketches, her 
rank among the immortals is determined by this one 
impulse of genius. It was the outpouring of a heart 
" bursting with anguish " ; she often spoke of the 



248 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

writing as having been compelled by a higher power ; 
in answer to a compliment she once said, " I did not 
write it ; God wrote it." 

The story of Mrs. Stowe's girlhood presents an 
interesting picture of New England life at the begin- 
ning of the century. She was born in Litchfield, 
Conn., in 1811, one of the eleven children of the 
Eev. Lyman Beecher, of whom the most distinguished 
was the pulpit orator, Henry Ward Beecher. The 
atmosphere of her youth was strongly theological. 
Her father's library contained only such books as 
Bell's " Sermons," Toplady's " On Predestination," and 
Law's " Serious Call," which filled her with a " vague 
awe," and led her to wonder if she "should ever be 
old enough to know what it was all about." 

Girlhood . °. 

Her imagination was first fired by a copy of 
the " Arabian Nights " which she found at the bottom 
of a barrel of musty sermons ; and the discovery of a 
fragment of "Don Quixote," lying "in forty or fifty 
disjecta membra amid Calls, Appeals, Sermons, Replies, 
and Ee joinders," was to her, she says, "like the rising 
of an enchanted island out of an ocean of mud." Her 
first public appearance was at twelve years of age, 
with a school composition entitled "Can the Immor- 
tality of the Soul be proved by the Light of Nature ? " 
She dreamed of becoming a poet and wrote verses of 
some merit, but for this she was reproved by her sister 
Catharine and put to studying Butler's "Analogy." 
From 1832 to 1850 she lived in Cincinnati, where her 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 249 

husband was associated with her father in founding 
Lane Theological Seminary. There she gathered the 
knowledge and experience out of which her great 
book was made. In 1850, when men's hearts were 
aflame with indignation at AVebster's Seventh of March 
speech, a sister wrote from Boston: "Hattie, if I could 
use a pen as you can, I would write something to 
make this whole nation feel what an accursed thing 
slavery is." Crushing the letter in her hand as she 
read it aloud to her family, she said: "I will write 
something. I will if I live." 

In the following April, 1851, the first chapter of 
" Uncle Tom's Cabin " appeared in the National Era, 
an antislavery paper published at Washington. The 
next year the completed story was published in book 
form and over three hundred thousand copies were 
sold within a twelve-month. The success was phe- 
nomenal. No American book has ever approached its 
circulation, and no novel in the language, ..^^^-^^ 
probably, has been so widely read. It has Tom's 
been translated as many as forty times and 
into all the tongues of the civilized world. Its influ- 
ence in arousing the public conscience was tremen- 
dous, for it pictured the evils of slavery with a 
dramatic vividness to minds that had hitherto viewed 
it only theoretically and afar off; the argument was 
the stronger also because she strove to paint with 
fairness the bright as well as the dark features of the 
system. The literary qualities of this work are well 



250 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

summarized by Professor Beers : " It is easy now to 
point out defects of taste and art in this masterpiece, 
to show that the tone is occasionally melodramatic, 
that some of the characters are conventional, and 
that the literary execution is in parts feeble and 
in others coarse. In spite of all it remains true 
that ^ Uncle Tom's Cabin ' is a great book, the work 
of genius seizing instinctively upon its opportunity 
and uttering the thought of the time with a power 
that thrilled the heart of the nation and of the 
world." 

Mrs. Stowe wrote a second story of slavery, " Dred ; 
A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp " ; and she pictured 
New England life with literary skill, and often with 
Her Minor delicious humor, in " The Minister's Woo- 
works ijigj? and "Oldtown Folks." The char- 

acter of Sam Lawson in the latter is one of the choice 
figures of American fiction. In this field of * quaint, 
domestic realism she was the precursor of Mary E. 
Wilkins, Kate Douglas Wiggin, Sarah Orne Jewett, 
and others who are now popular. When nearing her 
seventieth year she wrote ^^Poganuc People," which 
Mrs. Fields thinks " one of the most exquisite of her 
books of sketches." But everything that she after- 
ward wrote sank quickly into insignificance in com- 
parison with "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which continues 
to command an almost universal interest. 

Reading and Discussion. — Uncle Tom's Cabin; Oldtown 

Folks. 



v] THE ANTISLAVERY MOVEMENT 251 

Biography and Criticism. — C. E. Stowe's "Life of Harriet 
Beecher Stowe." Mrs. Fields's "Life and Letters of Harriet 
Beecher Stowe." New England Magazine^ September, 1896 
(George Willis Cooke). Atlantic Monthly, September, 1896 
(Charles Dudley Warner). Carpenter's "American Prose" 
(Richard Burton). 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

Winsor's "Memorial History of Boston," Vol. Ill, chap. 6. 
Wilson's "Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America." 
Rhodes's "History of the United States from the Compromise 
of 1850." Greeley's "The American Conflict." McMaster's 
"History of the People of the United States," Vol. V, chap. 45. 
Goldwin Smith's "United States," chaps. 4, 5. Higginson's 
"Cheerful Yesterdays" and "Contemporaries." Grimke's 
"Garrison" and "Sumner" (American Reformers Series). 
Garrison's "William Lloyd Garrison : The Story of his Life." 
Samuel J. May's " Some Recollections of our Antislavery Con- 
flict." Birney's "James G. Birney and his Times." William 
Still's "Underground Railroad." Siebert's "Underground 
Railway from Slavery to Freedom." Von Hoist's "Constitu- 
tional History of the United States," Vol. II, chap. 2, and 
"John C. Calhoun." Channing's "Works," Vols. II, V, and 
VI. Johnston's "American Orations," Vols. II and III. 
Morse's "John Quincy Adams," chap. 3. Burgess's "The 
Middle Period" (American History Series) chaps. 11, 18-21. 
Wilson's "Division and Reunion " (Epochs of American His- 
tory). Julia Ward Howe's "Reminiscences." Schurz's 
"Henry Clay." Lodge's "Daniel Webster." Davis's "Rise 
and Fall of the Confederate Government." Chamberlin's 
"John Brown" (Beacon Biographies). Chad wick's "Theo- 
dore Parker, Preacher and Reformer." Old South Leaflets, 
78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 

The period from about 1835 to 1875 may be re- 
garded as the Augustan Age of American literature, 
and the imperial center of intellectual activity during 
that period was Boston. The greater part of our 
literature that has been stamped with the seal of 
permanent approval was produced between those 
dates, and its producers were associated in a charm- 
The Literary i^^g literary brotherhood, of which Boston 
Capital ^g^g ^jjg accustomed meeting place ; for in 

their relations to literature Cambridge and Concord 
are to be regarded as organic parts of Boston, asso- 
ciated ganglia of a single brain. It was not an ex- 
travagant boast of Dr. Holmes that Boston was then 
"the thinking center of the continent." No other 
American city has enjoyed such exclusive distinction 
of literary eminence, and with the increasing diffusion 
of literary interests it is probable that no city will 
ever again achieve such intellectual honors. " Litera- 
ture had a high lineage in Boston in those days," says 
Howells, "a real aristocracy of intellect. To say 
Prescott, Motley, Parkman, Lowell, Norton, Higgin- 
son, Dana, Emerson, Channing, was to say patrician, 

252 



CHAP. Vl] 



THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 



253 



in the truest and often in the best sense, if not the 
largest. Boston was small, but these were of her first 
citizens, and their primacy, in its way, was of the same 
quality as that, say, of the chief families of Venice." 

The common nursery of these intellectual aristocrats 
was Harvard College. Cambridge was then a quiet 




The Harvard Gate 



country village, with broad streets, blooming gardens, 
and fragrant orchards, a place where noble thought 
had room to expand in touch with woods and fields 
and the high heavens. There in the aca- 
demic shade of spreading elms, "peaceful 
among the storied scenes of war, stands the university, 
benign mother of educated New England, coeval with 
the Puritan settlement, which has given the master 



Cambridge 



254 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

impulse to American civilization." Looking out upon 
the college green was the old " gambrel-roofed house," 
rich in Kevolutionary associations, the beloved birth- 
place of the " Autocrat of the Breakfast Table " ; and 
" somewhat back from the village street," in a stately 
mansion whose walls had known familiarly the voices 
of George and Martha Washington, dwelt Longfellow 
in the perfect peace of domestic happiness, distilling 
in the alembic of his pure soul imperishable song; 
and a ten minutes' walk beyond lived Lowell, in poetic 
seclusion, among the birds and books of " Elmwood." 
There were professors in those days who were more 
than teachers and " specialists " ; indeed, it is a pecul- 
iar honor to the teaching guild that the two greatest 
American poets were called " professors " during the 
better part of their lives. 

A new epoch in American culture had been opened 
about 1820 by the lectures of Everett and the elo- 
quence of Channing. Jared Sparks had laid the 
A Culture foundation for a school of American his- 
Epoch tory. Ticknor and Longfellow removed 

much of the provincial hardness of letters by bringing 
students into contact with the choicest literature of 
German and the Romance languages ; and Lowell and 
Norton followed them in diffusing the inspiring influ- 
ences of European art and poetry. Holmes mingled 
wit and wisdom in the lecture rooms of the medical 
school with his inimicable zest; while Felton, the ac- 
complished Grecian, and Agassiz, the scientist, contrib- 



vi] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 255 

uted to culture quite as much as to learning. With 
the exception of Hawthorne, whose star, like Milton's, 
" dwelt apart," all of the great New England group 
were closely related to Harvard College. Even the 
farmer poet of Essex was made an "overseer'' of 
the university. This intimate and dominant relation- 
ship to American literature sustained by Harvard 
during this period is not likely to be established 
again by any American college. 

A special focal influence in literature at this time 
was the Atlantic Monthly, a magazine whose unique 
distinction among American literary periodicals is to 
have been purely literary throughout its whole career. 
Established in 1857 by a coterie of Cam- ^he Atlantic 
bridge writers, who thereafter constituted Monthly 
the famous " Saturday Club," and edited successively 
by men who stand for our finest literary life, — Lowell, 
Fields, Howells, Aldrich, and Scudder, — it has repre- 
sented the best ideals and traditions of literary art. 
To the columns of this magazine were contributed, 
almost exclusively, the choicest productions of Emer- 
son, Longfellow, Holmes, Whittier, Lowell, and others 
of the New England group. 

The members of this distinguished group are char- 
acterized by certain qualities that are supremely sig- 
nificant in respect to the development of American 
thought and art. The character of the Puritans 
entered into their work; they had lofty ideals of 
art, and pursued them with scrupulous earnestness. 



256 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Literature with them was not a diversion, or a pro- 
fession, so much as a sacred trust. And their writing 
Moral ^^^ always colored with the finest moral- 

Character of ity. There was nothing bohemian, lawless, 
or sensational about them; no apologies 
or explanations have to be made in the criticism 
of their lives and work. Says Professor Wendell : 
" These men are our leaders ; and they are noble 
leaders to follow. Whatever their shortcomings, 
whatever their errors, the world rarely affords the 
spectacle of such a group; silently chosen from 
among their fellows for honest work honestly done, 
honest words honestly spoken, these men, as we study 
their lives, triumphantly prove how nearly stainless 
human manhood may be." 

The midyears of this period were golden years for the litera- 
ture of the English tongue. The Victorian Age in England, the 
second richest period in English literature, was at its highest 
point of productivity. In 1847, the year of Longfellow's " Evan- 
geline " and Emerson's "Poems," Tennyson's "Princess," 
Thackeray's "Vanity Fair," and Charlotte Bronte's "Jane 
Eyre " were published. The next year saw Macaulay's " His- 
tory of England," from which modern historical 
Decade writing dates. Within the decade from 1847 to 

1857 there appeared Tennyson's "In Memoriam" 
and "Maud," Thackeray's "Pendennis," "Henry Esmond," 
"Newcomes," "Virginians," "English Humorists," and 
"Four Georges," Dickens's " Dombey and Son," "David 
Copperfield," "Bleak House," and "Little Dorrit," Kings- 
ley's "Hypatia" and "Westward Ho!" Ruskin's "Stones 
of Venice," "Seven Lamps of Architecture," and the third 
and fourth volumes of "Modern Painters," Bulwer Lytton's 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 257 

"Caxtons," "Harold," and "My Novel," Miss Mulock's 
"John Halifax," Trollope's " Barchester Towers," the first 
volumes of Froude's " History of England," Buckle's "History 
of Civilization," Carlyle's "Latter-day Pamphlets" and "Life 
of John Sterling," Landor's "Imaginary Conversations of 
Greeks and Romans," Wordsworth's "Prelude," Browning's 
"Men and Women" and "Christmas Eve," Mrs. Browning's 
"Aurora Leigh" and " Sonnets from the Portuguese," Arnold's 
"Poems," and Clough's " Bothie of Tober-na-Vuolich. " In 
America during the same decade we had Longfellow's "Golden 
Legend" and "Hiawatha," Lowell's "Biglow Papers," "Fable 
for Critics" and "Vision of Sir Launfal," Whittier's "Voices 
of Freedom," and "Songs of Labor," Hawthorne's "Scarlet 
Letter," "House of Seven Gables" and " Blithedale Romance," 
Emerson's "Representative Men," "English Traits," and 
"Miscellanies," Mrs. Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," Thoreau's 
" Walden," Bayard Taylor's "Poems of the Orient," Motley's 
"Rise of the Dutch Republic," Parkman's "Conspiracy of 
Pontiac," and Holmes's "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table." 
Few decades in the history of any literature can be found with 
a list like this. The next year, 1858, brought forth George 
Eliot's "Scenes from Clerical Life," and Tennyson's "Idylls 
of the King." Surely literature then dwelt upon the heights, 
and the reading public enjoyed a precious intimacy with fine 
minds. 

HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW 

1807-1882 

The first American LongfeHow settled in Newbury, 
Mass., in 1676, and married a sister of the famous 
Judge SewaU. Stephen LongfeHow, the poet's father, 
was a graduate of Harvard, and a successful lawyer of 
Portland, "the beautiful town that is seated by the 
sea." Here the son Henry was born, February 27, 



258 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 




1807. The mother, Zilpah Wadsworth, was a descend- 
ant of Priscilla, the Puritan maid, who did not marry 
Miles Standish. Thus the blood of both Pilgrim and 
Puritan flowed in the poet's veins. 

In early childhood Longfellow showed the qualities 
that characterized his whole life, tenderness, gentle- 
^sxs^ x■.^^.^^v.^ X .. svxsNN ^|^^ ^^^s, aud refincd 
^^ '\ ^^ ^' ^^"^^ ^^BhBI taste. Having 

* ^?t^^SB shot a robin one 
day, he was so 
grieved upon 
looking at the 
dead bird that he 
gave up that form 
of sport forever. 
Throughout his 
school days he 
showed a distaste 
for all rude 
sports. At seven 
years of age he 
was " half through 
his Latin gram- 
mar." In his twelfth year, Irving's " Sketch Book " 
appeared, and this he read with " ever-increasing won- 
Youth and c^^r and delight." Authorship began at 
Education thirteen with his first poem, "The Battle 
at LovelPs Pond," published in the Portland Oazette. 
He entered Bowdoin College at fourteen, and sus- 



Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 



vi] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 259 

tained throughout his course the reputation of being 
agreeable, scholarly, and " always a gentleman." At 
graduation, in 1825, the question of a profession 
pressed for decision. To his father he wrote: "I 
most eagerly aspire after future eminence in litera- 
ture; my whole soul burns most ardently for it." 
But literature was in those days an impossible pro- 
fession to live by. For the " Psalm of Life," when 
published, he was promised five dollars, and received 
nothing. Naturally, the prudent father urged him to 
study law ; but the way to a career of letters was un- 
expectedly opened. The college fathers, having noted 
the promising growth of his scholarship and literary 
gifts, offered to make him Professor of Modern Lan- 
guages, after suitable preparation by study in Europe. 
Accordingly, the next three years were spent with 
enthusiastic delight in studying the languages and 
literature of France, Spain, Italy, and Germany ; and 
the broad familiarity with Old World culture gained at 
this time exercised an important influence upon his 
whole literary career. 

Longfellow spent five successful years at Bowdoin, 
joyously busy with his studies, preparing text-books 
for his classes in French and Spanish, writing valu- 
able articles for the North American Review, and con- 
verting his notes of European travel and study into 
the charming chapters of " Outre-Mer," his first ar- 
tistic production, published in 1835. In 1836 he 
succeeded George Ticknor as Professor of Modern 



260 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Languages at Harvard, having made special prepara- 
tion for the position by another year's study in 
Professor- Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and Germany. 

ships; First ^^ Rotterdam the first great sorrow of his 

Sorrow; ° 

"Hyperion" life came to him in the death of his wife, 

whom he had married in Portland in 1831, " the being 

beauteous " of the poem, " Footsteps of Angels." The 

effect of this sorrow may be traced in his writing for 

some years. The "Psalm of Life," published two 

years later, was "a voice from my inmost heart," he 

said. The beautiful romance, " Hyperion," is largely 

a record of his thoughts and experiences during this 

period. He speaks autobiographically through the 

hero, Paul Flemming, who " buried himself in old 

dusty books, and worked his way diligently through 

the ancient poetic lore of Germany." With the new 

poets of Germany, also, Goethe, Heine, Uhland, and 

the others, he made himself intimately familiar, and 

to the flowery Jean Paul Richter he was strongly 

drawn. 

At Cambridge he became at once popular both in 

college and in society. Splendidly equipped for his 

work, a master of all the literary languages of Europe, 

At he opened a new world to the students by 

"^voices^of bringing to them the rich treasures of Old 

the Night" World art, tradition, romance, and song. 

Under the charm of his refined personality a new 

atmosphere of literary culture was created, which has 

given a transcendent fame to Cambridge and her 



VI] 



THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 



261 



spiritual suburb, Boston. He took rooms, in 1837, 
in the Craigie house, celebrated as the headquarters 
of Washington, which was henceforth to be his home. 
Here, in Washington's chamber, he wrote "Hyperion" 
and " Voices of the Night," which were published in 




Longfellow's Home in Cambridge 

1839. With the latter his fame as a poet began. This 
cherished little volume contained the " Psalm of Life," 
"Footsteps of Angels," "The Reaper and the Flowers," 
and other favorites, with his translations, and five of 
his college poems that he thought worthy of preserva- 
tion. The early poems were devoted to nature, and 
echoed the voice of Bryant ; in the others a deep-toned 
personal chord was sounded. Two years later ap- 



262 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

peared the striking ballads, " The Skeleton in Armor " 
and " The Wreck of the Hesperus," which established 
immediately Longfellow's superiority as a story-teller 
in verse. For strength, simplicity, and swiftness these 
are among the few modern ballads that are worthy of 
comparison with the minstrelsy of old. 

He made a brief trip to Europe in 1842 for his 
health. A visit to Bruges gave us the sweet " Belfry " 
poems. A sonnet written during this absence, too per- 
sonal for publication, expressed the yearning of his 
spirit for high and noble things : — 

Half of my life is gone, and I have let 
The years slip from me and have not fulfilled 
The aspirations of my youth, to build 
Some tower of song with lofty parapet. 

During the return voyage he wrote the "Poems on 
Slavery," which added another poetic voice to the 
Third Trip cause of freedom ; but they did not equal 
to Europe j^ passionate power the poems of Whittier 
on the same subject. Soon after his return he married 
Frances Appleton, the Mary Ashburton of "Hype- 
rion," " whom to remember," says William Winter, " is 
to wonder that so much loveliness and worth could take 
a mortal shape." His next volume was " The Spanish 
Student," a drama, which suggests the variety of form 
and subject for which his genius seemed always seek- 
ing. This was followed, in 1846, by the " Belfry of 
Bruges," a volume containing some of his finest lyrics, 
such as the " Arsenal at Springfield," " The Bridge," 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 263 

" The Arrow and the Song," and the " Old Clock on 
the Stairs." Nothing more exquisitely artistic and 
beautiful than some of these songs has appeared in 
our literature. But the author was already at work 
upon a loftier "tower of song." 

In 1847, the year of Tennyson's " Princess," " Evan- 
geline " was published. The theme was given to the 
poet by Hawthorne, a story of love and pathos well 
suited to his tastes. 

Ye who believe in affection that hopes, and endures, and 

is patient, 
Ye who believe in the beauty and strength of woman's 

devotion, 
List to the mournful tradition still sung by the pines of 

the forest. 

The meter, the classical dactylic hexameter, was a bold 
experiment, and much criticised as un-English, but the 
marvelous popularity of the poem has been < < gvan- 
a full vindication of the author's judgment, geiine " 
Dr. Holmes read it as he would have " listened to some 
exquisite symphony." The lingering melancholy, the 
grace and tenderness of this simple tale, wandering 
through scenes of primeval and pastoral beauty, exer- 
cise an irresistible charm upon readers of every class 
and condition. It is the " flower of American idyls." 
Another successful experiment with English hexame- 
ter was made in the " Courtship of Miles Standish," 
in which the poet, quite unlike himself, introduces a 
frolicsome humor, and softens the hard picture of the 



264 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Plymouth colony with poetic tints for which we are 
delightedly grateful. 

Next to " Evangeline " in original merit is " Hiawa- 
tha," published in 1855, a poem more redolent of the 
primitive soil of America than anything else in our 
literature. It is a forest epic, an "Indian Edda." 
Here Longfellow's fondness for experiment is again 
seen. The form, borrowed from the " Kalevala " of 
Finland, consists of the trochaic tetrameter verse, then 
' ' Hiawa- almost unknown to English poetry, with 
*^^" parallelism, or the repetition of lines in 

slightly varied form. It was strange and curious, and 
the critics and parodists made merry with the simple 
verses, but it has won a complete triumph over cavil 
and criticism. It is " sweet and wholesome as maize," 
wrote Emerson. The Indians may not be more true 
to fact than Cooper's Indians, but the truth is suffi- 
cient for imaginative art. " ' Hiawatha ' is the one 
poem," says Stedman, " that beguiles the reader to see 
the birch and ash, the heron and eagle and deer, as 
they seem to the red man himself, and to join for the 
moment in his simple creed and wonderment." 

Soon after " Evangeline " appeared Longfellow's 
final venture in prose, " Kavanagh," a story of New 
England village life, which Hawthorne called " a most 
precious and rare book, as fragrant as a 
bunch of flowers." But his prose was too 
unreal to survive; its delicacy and elegance were 
too obvious. The story served, however, to express 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 265 

principles and ideals that were fundamental to his life 
work. " Outre-Mer," written in the manner of Irving, 
helped to lift the American mind out of provincialism 
and guide it to treasures of beauty beyond the sea. 
" Hyperion " is a blithe-hearted expression of noble 
aspiration, nurtured by romance and sentiment. " I 
called it Hyperion^'' he said, " because it moves on high, 
among clouds and stars." It rendered an inestimable 
service in introducing German poetry to the New World, 
and the charm of its descriptions is not yet lost, for it 
is the companion of the lettered traveler in Germany, 
as the " Marble Faun " is in Italy. 

That there might be no irksome restraint upon his 
creative energies, he resigned his professorship in 1854, 
desiring the free enjoyment of what he called his 
" ideal home-world of poetry." Henceforth 
his life moved on in beautiful tranquility, Second great 

^ ^ sorrow ; 

broken once, in 1861, by the tragic death of " Tales of a 
his wife. The burden of this sacred sor- ^^y^^*^® 

Inn 

row he never revealed to the public ; in his 
portfolio was found after his death the touching son- 
net, " The Cross of Snow " : — 

Here in this room she died ; and soul more white 
Never through martyrdom of fire was led 
To its repose. 

Tinged as is his poetry generally with the pathos of 
afternoon shadows, he seldom sounds a note of per- 
sonal grief, as in the tender lyric "Resignation," 
which beautifully enshrines a family sorrow. The 



266 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

happy companionship of his children and the consola- 
tion of work were left to him. As Bryant under simi- 
lar circumstances turned to Homer, Longfellow turned 
to his " dear Dante " and completed a translation of 
the " Divine Comedy," which is one of the best Eng- 
lish versions, famous especially for its closeness to the 
original. Meanwhile he was beginning the " Tales of 
a Wayside Inn," told by a group of friends about the 
blazing hearth of the quaint old tavern in Sudbury. 
The idea is as old as Chaucer and Boccaccio, but here 
receives a new grace, for Longfellow was the best of 
modern trouveres. Among these tales are the favor- 
ites "King Eobert of Sicily," "Paul Kevere's Ride," 
and the "Birds of Killingworth," the last being the 
only one in which the story is of the poet's own 
invention. 

A final visit to Europe was made in 1868, when the 
poet was honored with degrees from both Oxford and 

Cambridge. His singing voice remained 
Last Years . , . ^ ^ . 

unimpaired to the last; indeed increasing 

in depth and fullness of tone as old age approached. 

" Morituri Salutamus," read before the survivors of his 

college class, fills the soul like organ music. The 

"Hanging of the Crane," a charming domestic idyl, 

and "Keramos," the poem of the potter, are worthy 

companions of the "Building of the Ship." Of 

"Ultima Thule," published in 1880, the motto of 

which was from the prayer of Horace, that he might 

" pass an old age neither unworthy nor without song," 



vi] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 267 

Lowell wrote, "Never was your hand firmer." His 
last poem, the " Bells of San Bias," was finished 
March 15, 1882; on Friday, March 24, the bells of 
Cambridge tolled the heavy news of his death. He 
passed from earth like the golden sun, that deepens 
its rich coloring until it sinks below the horizon, and 
fills the heavens with a glorious afterglow. 

The life of Longfellow was itself a poem, gracious, 
tranquil, and beautiful. His escutcheon, had he pos- 
sessed one, should have borne the Edelweiss. "His 
nature," says Lowell, "was consecrated Personal 
ground, into which no unclean spirit could Qualities 
ever enter." Professor Norton adds, "The sweet- 
ness, the gentleness, the grace, the purity, the hu- 
maniby of his verse were the image of his own soul." 
Innate delicacy and refinement were not more pro- 
nounced characteristics than his free-flowing sympa- 
thy. He loved his neighbor and aided him through 
varied forms of charity ; he loved children ; he loved 
to help young authors, struggling with first failures ; 
and his patience with strange visitors, relic hunters, 
and autograph collectors was phenomenal. Not even 
for critics, whom he loved least of all, had he ever a 
bitter word. When Poe was attacking him with his 
gad-fly sting, he was reading and praising the poems 
of his envious rival. There was not a drop of acid in 
his nature. His soul, if not as lofty, was as generous 
and serene as Emerson's. 

His poetry expresses the finer life of common 



268 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

humanity. No poet of English speech has so en- 
deared himself to the general heart ; he is the peo- 
ple's poet, voicing universal emotions ; his song rises 
Literary li^^ Wordsworth's lark, always "true to 

Qualities ^]^g kindred points of heaven and home." 
No preaching was ever more fruitful in the bestowal 
of peace and consolation than such poems as the 
"Psalm of Life" and " Eesignation " ; and "Excel- 
sior," artistically defective and threadbare in senti- 
ment as it may be, is still to thousands what it was to 
Holmes, " a poem that springs upward like a flame, 
and carries the soul up with it in its aspiration for the 
unattainable ideal." Beauty, grace, and tenderness 
are the marks of his power; he is never passionate, 
Byronic, or Browningesque. He was as sensitive to 
beauty as Keats, and his workmanship, directed by 
unerring taste and a delicate perception of harmonies, 
is uniformly excellent. The style is clear as crystal, 
and the melody is never marred by discords. There 
is none of Whittier's impetuous rush, or of Lowell's 
pungent humor. The limitations of his poetry are 
obvious ; the themes are commonplace and the thought 
is not profound ; but so to treat the commonplace as 
to make it eternally interesting and beautiful, to im- 
mortalize a "Village Blacksmith" in song, requires a 
high, if not the highest, order of genius. His love of 
romanticism, rich expression, and moral diffusiveness 
is restrained by a classic taste for simplicity ; a fine 
balance of thought and expression is maintained. 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 269 

which, if it sometimes produces monotony, always 
avoids obscurity and sensationalism. The dominant 
note of his song is that of the hermit thrush, whose 
prolonged note of sweet melancholy adds to the 
enchantment of forest twilight ; his sadness is not 
the sadness that depresses, but the gentle voice of 
yearning that purifies and exalts. "He touches the 
spirit with an infinite softness, like a hand from the 
other world." 

Longfello"^ has been called the "least national of 
our poets " ; but what is thought to be national is 
often only provincial. Although by taste, tempera- 
ment, and education he was strongly LongfeUow's 
drawn toward Europe, yet he was not Nationalism 
lacking in patriotism. His greatest poems are thor- 
oughly native, and the " Building of the Ship," with 
its magnificent close, comes near to being our finest 
national poem. His culture was cosmopolitan ; he 
was at home in any part of the Old World where 
legend, art, or song has left a shrine. If the castled 
Khine inspired him as genuinely as his own Charles, 
our literature has been the better for it. All the 
world was his Hybla, from which to gather honeyed 
verse. There was some truth in Margaret Fuller's 
pert criticism upon his early poems, that he produced 
"flowers of all climes, and wild flowers of none." 
And others reproached him with being a " smooth- 
throated mocking bird warbling a foreign melody." 
But the native wood-notes came, and his pages are 



270 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chai>. 

often filled with the odors of pines and hemlocks. 
His fame confirms his early contention, in " Kavan- 
agh," that " nationality is a good thing, to a certain 
extent, but universality is better." His poems are 
'Hiousehold words" wherever the English language 
is spoken ; in England he is read more widely than 
Tennyson, and the, marble bust in Westminster Abbey, 
near the tomb of Chaucer, is a fitting symbol of his 
place in the Valhalla of the English race. 

Longfellow sought eminence in each of the three 
great departments of verse, — lyric, epic, and dramatic. 
The power of his lyrics is attested by their extraordi- 
nary popularity. The world cannot tire of the sweet 
pensiveness of such songs as " The Day is 
Epics, Done," and " The Arrow and the Song," 

ramas ^^ ^^ ^^^^ prof ounder music of the " Fire of 

Drift- Wood," " Sandalphon," and " Palingenesis." He 
was not a nature poet, but the sea always inspired 
him. In the " Secret of the Sea " he says : — 

And the heart of the great ocean 
Sends a thrilling pulse through me. 

His sonnets, some of them, Lowell thought to be among 
" the most beautiful and perfect we have in the lan- 
guage." In the minor forms of the epic, the ballad 
and the metrical tale, he touched a point of excellence 
overreached in his own age only by Tennyson. Like 
Tennyson, he was pursued to the end by the desire 
to produce a dramatic masterpiece, for which his gen- 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 271 

ills was not fitted. The early "Spanish Student" is 
his nearest approach to a play ; " Judas Maccabaeus " 
and " Michael Angelo " are interesting failures ; of the 
elaborate trilogy, " Christus," only the second part, 
the " Golden Legend," compels admiration, and the 
abiding charm of this drama of mediaevalism is quite 
independent of the dramatic form. 

Translation forms a conspicuous part of Longfellow's 
work, for which he possessed a distinctive taste and 
happy gift. From whatever language he 
chose gems for recutting, he performed the 
delicate work with remarkable ease and accuracy. He 
" remained all his life a translator," says Beers, " and 
in subtler ways than by direct translation he infused 
the fine essence of European poetry into his own." 
Like the early engravers who made new originals from 
the smoky canvases of the old masters, he delighted 
in recreating, in forms of his own exquisite art, the 
life of the misty, legendary past. 

Longfellow is widely regarded as " the leader of the 
American choir," but his rank among his fellow-poets 
is of slight importance. He is not equal to them at 
many points; he did not have Emerson's spiritual 
breadth and insight, nor Whittier's trenchant strength, 
nor Lowell's versatile gifts, but as a maker pinai 
of artistic verse, as a poet of the beautiful Estimate 
and of the human affections, his position of superiority 
is secure. In respect to these qualities Curtis's judg- 
ment is likely to stand : " The infinite tenderness and 



272 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

patience, the pathos and the beauty of daily life, of 
familiar emotion, and the common scene, these are the 
significance of that verse whose beautiful and simple 
melody, softly murmuring for more than forty years, 
made the singer the most widely beloved of living 
men. . . . His poems are apples of gold in pictures 
of silver. There is nothing in them excessive, nothing 
overwrought, nothing strained into turgidity, obscurity, 
or nonsense. There is sometimes, indeed, a fine state- 
liness, as in the 'Arsenal at Springfield,' and even a 
resounding splendor of diction, as in ' Sandalphon.' 
But when the melody is most delicate, it is simple. 
The poet throws nothing into the mist to make it 
large. How purely melodious his verse can be with- 
out losing the thought or its most transparent expres- 
sion, is seen in the ' Evening Star ' and ' Snow-flakes.' 
The literary decoration of his style, the aroma and 
color and richness, so to speak, which it derives from 
his ample accomplishment in literature, are incompar- 
able." 

Class Study. — Evangeline ; Psalm of Life ; Village Black- 
smith; Wreck of the Hesperus ; Carillon ; Belfry of Bruges ; Old 
Clock on the Stairs ; The Arrow and the Song ; Sandalphon ; 
Birds of Killingworth ; Building of the Ship ; Seaweed ; Eire of 
Drift- Wood ; The Jewish Cemetery at Newport ; The Herons 
of Elm wood ; Curfew ; Three Friends of Mine ; Divina Corn- 
media ; Weariness ; Resignation. 

Class Reading. — Hiawatha ; My Lost Youth ; The Children's 
Hour ; The Cumberland ; The Day is Done ; King Robert of 
Sicily ; The Bridge ; The Skeleton in Armor ; The Tide Rises, 
the Tide Falls ; The Arsenal at Springfield j Killed at the Ford ; 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 273 

Catawba Wine ; Prometheus ; Castles in Spain ; Birds of Pas- 
sage ; Hanging of the Crane ; The Bells of Lynn ; Christmas 
Bells ; The Bells of San Bias. 

Biography and Criticism. — Samuel Longfellow's "Henry 
Wadsworth Longfellow," and "Final Memorials." Under- 
wood's " Henry "Wadsworth Longfellow." Kennedy's "Henry 
Wadsworth Longfellow." Robertson's "Henry Wadsworth 
Longfellow" (Great Writers). Mrs. Fields's "Authors and 
Friends." Carpenter's "Longfellow" (Beacon Biographies). 
Stoddard's "Poets' Homes." Wolfe's "Literary Shrines." 
Cyclopsedia of American Biography (Professor Norton). Sted- 
man's "Poets of America." Curtis's "Literary and Social 
Essays." Richardson's "American Literature," Vol. IL 
Johnson's "Three Englishmen and Three Americans." Scud- 
der's "Men and Letters." Winter's "Old Shrines and 
Ivy" and "English Rambles and Other Fugitive Pieces." 
Lang's "Letters on Literature." Higginson's "Old Cam- 
bridge." Whittier's "Literary Recreations." Parton's 
"Princes, Authors, and Statesmen." Whipple's "Essays and 
Reviews," Vol. I. Lowell's "Fable for Critics." Howells's 
"Literary Friends and Acquaintance." Stoddard's "Remi- 
niscences" {LippincotV s, January, 1896). Bayard Taylor's 
" Essays and Notes." Hazeltine's " Chats about Books." Miss 
Mitford's "Recollections of a Literary Life." Wendell's 
"Literary History of America." Fiske's "Unseen World." 
Haweis's "Poets in the Pulpit." 

Poets' Tributes. — William Winter's "Longfellow." Low- 
ell's " To H. W. L." Whittier's " The Poet and the Children." 
Holmes's "ToH. W. Longfellow," and "Our Dead Singer." 
H. C. Runner's " Longfellow." Austin Dobson's " H. W. Long- 
fellow : In Memoriam." Hayne's "Longfellow Dead ! " Edith 
M. Thomas's " Vale et Salve." Margaret J. Preston's " Ultima 
Thule." E. S. Phelps's "Whose Shall the Welcome Be?" 
Cranch's " Longfellow." 



274 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL 



1819-1891 

While Longfellow is justly called the leader of the 
New England choir, and the most representative 

American poet, 
v^-x-^^j^N^ ^^:f^-\^ x;'^ ^^;«. v^^ss LQ^gii must be 

regarded as our 
chief man of let- 
ters. His varied 
eminence as poet, 
Clitic, teacher, re- 
former, diploma- 
tist, gives him a 
peculiar preemi- 
nence not at- 
tained by any 
other representa- 
tive of American 
literature. 

In the stately 
colonial mansion 
called Elmwood, one mile from the gateway of Har- 
vard College, James Kussell Lowell was born on 
Washington's birthday, February 22, 1819. It has 
been said that the Lowells were " distinguished in 
every generation " ; for the practical wisdom of one 
the city of Lowell was named, and another was the 
philanthropic founder of the Lowell Institute. The 




James Russell Lowell 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 275 

poet's father was a distinguished clergyman, and the 
mother, of Scotch descent, taught her children to love 
the songs and ballads of the " North Coun- gon^g 
trie." Elm wood was an ideal place for a influences 
poet's birth and education ; within was a well-stocked 
library and a family life of culture and high aims; 
without were extensive grounds abounding in the wild 
beauty of native trees and flowers and singing birds. 
How the poet soul was nurtured here, Aldrich happily 
describes in the beautiful memorial " Elmwood " : — 

So in her arms did Mother Nature fold 
Her poet, whispering what of wild and sweet 
Into his ear — the state-affairs of birds, 
The lore of dawn and sunset, what the wind 
Said in the treetops — fine, unfathomed things 
Henceforth to turn to music in his brain. 

At fifteen Lowell entered Harvard, and was gradu- 
ated in 1838. During his senior year he was rusticated 
at Concord for a time, for following the bent of his 
own tastes in reading, in disparagement of the pre- 
scribed tastes of the faculty. He was thus prevented 
from delivering his class poem, which con- 
tained nothing significant except some 
clever satire upon the Transcendentalists and abolition- 
ists, with both of whom he was soon to be in active 
sympathy. Upon hearing of his son's appointment as 
class poet, Dr. Lowell exclaimed, " Oh, dear ! James 
promised me that he would quit writing poetry and go 
to work." But the good doctor did not comprehend the 



276 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

destinies that attend upon genius, and fortunately his 
son never lived up to the early New England ideal of 
thrift. He attended the Harvard Law School, obtained 
his degree of LL.B., and opened an office in Boston ; but 
it is more than doubtful whether he ever had a case, in 
spite of his prose sketch entitled " My First Client." 

In 1841 he published his first volume of poems, 
"A Year's Work," which contained little promise of 
his future powers, but gave evidence enough that 
henceforth literature, not law, would command his 
service. Most of these poems he condemned in later 
years, as " poor windfalls of unripe experience." One 
First Poems P^^"^? " ^J Love," contains the key to the 
and volume and its inspiration, "a hymn as 

amag high and still as starlight," so pure and 

lofty is its passion. He had won the love of Maria 
White, a woman of exquisite refinement and per- 
sonal loveliness, whom he married in 1844. He now 
abandoned law, wrote for the periodicals, founded and 
edited a magazine called the Pioneer, which being too 
good to live, under the conditions of public taste then 
prevailing, died with the third number; published 
an interesting series of "Conversations on Some 
of the Old Poets," and in 1844, a second volume of 
poems, containing some of his best known work, as 
"Ehoecus," "The Shepherd of King Admetus," and 
" A Legend of Brittany," the last being hailed by Poe 
as "the noblest poem yet written by an American." 
Under the influence of his high-souled wife, herself 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 277 

a poet and an ardent sympathizer with every noble 
reform, Lowell was drawn into the abolition move- 
ment, and was for several years an editorial con- 
tributor to the Antislavery Standard. As his soul 
became fired with the new cause, his poetry changed 
from imitative and conventional verses to strains of 
original strength, sounding the alarum of national 
danger and duty. The poems on Garrison, Phillips, 
and Palfrey, and " The Present Crisis " a Real 
mark the progress of his patriotic passion xTe^l^B^igfo^ 
toward its splendid outburst in the " Biglow Papers " 
Papers." In this series of brilliant satires the unsus- 
pected resources of his genius were suddenly dis- 
closed. Under the guise of Hosea Biglow, a 
shrewd-witted down-East Yankee, the poet adminis- 
tered a stinging rebuke to the dominant party at 
the North, represented by Webster, for yielding to 
southern demands, especially in the matter of the 
Mexican War, which he regarded as "a national 
crime, committed in behalf of slavery." The first 
"paper" appeared in 1846, ridiculing the attempt to 
raise troops in Boston, and containing lines of fervid 
patriotism that rang with a startling sound : — 

Massachusetts, God forgive her, 

She's akneelin' with the rest, 
She, thet ough' to ha' clung forever 

In her grand old eagle-nest. 

With clever hits and keen sarcasm, the impotence 
and sham of public men and events were held up 



278 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

to public ridicule and indignation. The abolitionists, 
hitherto treated with lofty scorn, were now upon the 
laughing side. The democratic privilege of personal 
criticism had never produced such a campaign song as 
^'What Mr. Robinson Thinks." The sober-minded 
Sumner, the white-plumed champion of the cause, 
welcomed the new knight of the Yankee pen, but 
wished "he could have used good English." 

The first series of the "Biglow Papers" appeared 
in volume form in 1848 ; a second series was written 
during the Civil War, containing the world-famous 
" Jonathan to John," a protest against England's hos- 
tile attitude. The political satire of both 
"Bigiow series is varied by frequent strains of true 
apers lyric power, and by two poems of sur- 

passing worth. "The Courtin'," that perfect idyl of 
Yankee land, in the judgment of Stedman, is " without 
a counterpart ; no richer juice can be pressed from the 
wild grape of Yankee soil." In " Sunthin' in the 
Pastoral Line" we have a delicious outpouring of 
Lowell's full-hearted love of nature, pictures of aston- 
ishing truth and beauty, like this of the bobolink : — 

Half hid in tip-top apple-blooms he swings, 
Or climbs aginst the breeze with quiverin' wings, 
Or, givin' way to 't in a mock despair, 
Runs down, a brook of laughter thru the air. 

Political satire is generally ephemeral, however promi- 
nent may be the author, but in the " Bigiow Papers " 
Lowell achieved a permanent masterpiece. He 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 279 

rendered the Yankee dialect and character with a 
completeness unapproached by others, and he could 
well say of himself, "I know Yankee, if I know 
nothing else." They are, says Professor Winchester, 
" something unique in English poetry. The combina- 
tion of such a variety of high poetic qualities in hu- 
morous verse is unprecedented. No English satiric 
poetry shows anything quite like it. To a satire as 
caustic as Pope's and a wit as dry as Butler's, they 
unite a broad and mellow humor, bright imagination, 
delicate sensibilities, deep pathos, and a power of stir- 
ring lyrical appeal."^ 

In the same year with the "Biglow Papers" ap- 
peared the "Fable for Critics" and the "Vision of 
Sir Launfal." The former is a series of portraits in 
rollicking verse, in which he touched up "Fable for 
the characteristics of his literary com- ,,g.J 
patriots with good-natured raillery and Launfal" 
good criticism as well. " Sir Launfal " is a charming 
allegorical treatment of one of the legends of the 
Holy G-rail, pervaded with delicate poetic and spir- 
itual feeling. Nothing in his poetry is more widely 
familiar than the beautiful passage descriptive of 
spring, beginning : — 

And what is so rare as a day in June. 

Lowell went abroad in 1851 with his family, seeking 
mainly the improvement of Mrs. Lowell's health. The 

1 Review of Reviews, October, 1891. 



280 AMEKICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

literary fruitage of this journey is found in the essays 
entitled " Leaves from My Journal in Italy and Else- 
where." At Rome the death of his little son occurred. 
Twice before these poet parents had been stricken by 
Domestic such a bereavement ; from this last shock 
Sorrow Mvs. LowcU never recovered, and the next 

year, 1853, she died. The memory of these sorrows 
is tenderly enshrined in the " Changeling," " She Came 
and Went," "The First Snow-Fail," "Auf Wieder- 
sehen," " After the Burial," and " The Dead House." 

In 1857 Lowell succeeded Longfellow in the Profes- 
sorship of Modern Languages, at Harvard. In the 
same year occurred his second marriage, and his 
appointment as the first editor of the Atlantic Monthly. 
Editorial ^or ten years from 1862 he was joint editor 
Work with Professor Norton of the North Ameri- 

can Review. To these periodicals he contributed his 
essays, collected under the titles " Fireside Travels," 
"Among My Books," and "From My Study Windows." 
These, with a volume of "Political Essays," one of 
" Political and Literary Addresses," and one of lectures 
on " The Old English Dramatists," constitute his prose 
works. 

The complete product of LowelPs genius, in verse 
and prose, is comparatively small. He wrote reluc- 
tantly, needing the spur of some great cause or occasion 
to arouse his best creative energies. He loved to 
indulge in literary lotus-eating, feasting his intellect, 
ripening and mellowing his thought through continued 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 281 

converse with other minds. When expression came, 

it was the choicest essence, distilled from the lavish 

abundance of his knowledge. "My eggs inteUectuai 

take long in hatching," he says in a letter, Character- 
istics ; 
" because I need to brood a good while." " under the 

Twenty years had elapsed since the publi- w^iio"^s" 
cation of a collection of his poems, when, in 1869, 
" Under the Willows " appeared, • containing many of 
his most precious gems, such as the pastoral title poem, 
the charming '^ Winter Evening Hymn to My Fire," 
with its touching close, " Auf Wiedersehen " and its 
" Palinode," the subtile " Foot-Path," and the exquisite 
fantasy "In the Twilight." The same year brought 
forth *'The Cathedral," a stately poem in blank verse 
with magnificent passages, but marred in places by 
characteristic discords, unworthily admitted to so 
dignified a composition. A final collection, " Hearts- 
ease and Eue," 1888, opened with the memorial poem 
" Agassiz," which " takes its place," says Henry James, 
" with the few great elegies in our language, gives a 
hand to ' Lycidas ' and ' Thyrsis.' " 

Lowell's most exalted verse is in his four patriotic 
odes, which Underwood calls " an Alpine group." The 
greatest is the " Commemoration Ode," in memory of 
the sons of Harvard who perished in the Civil War. 
Into this sublime song of victory and peace « commemo- 
the poet poured his warm heart blood, ration Ode" 
Eight of his own kindred were numbered among the 
heroes to be memorialized. American patriotism has 



282 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

offered no loftier tribute to Abraham Lincoln than the 
passage beginning : — 

Such was he, our Martyr-chief, 

Whom late the nation he had led, 

With ashes on her head, 
Wept with the passion of an angry grief. 

The strophes are of unequal merit, and sometimes 
overburdened with compressed thought. " It is no 
smooth-cut block from Pentelicus," says Stedman, "but 
a mass of rugged quartz, beautified with prismatic 
crystals, and deep veined here and there with virgin 
gold." 

Lowell was appointed, in 1876, minister to Spain, 
and four years later was transferred to England, where 
he was welcomed as " His Excellency the Ambassador 
Diplomatic ^^ American Literature to the Court of 
Honors Shakspere." No American ever enjoyed 

a more gracious and distinguished reception among the 
English people, w^hose unbounded admiration he won 
through a wise administration of his official trust, an 
engaging personality, and an extraordinary felicity in 
public speaking. The Queen said that no ambassador 
during her reign had created so much interest in 
England. With an increasing affection for England, 
he maintained always an intense, almost aggressive 
Americanism, and his address at Birmingham on 
" Democracy " stands as our finest expression of 
American principles. At the close of his public 
career he returned to Elmwood and there spent his 



YI] 



THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 



283 



last days, listening in the quiet of the old library 
to the voices of the past. 

Again he watched 
His loved syringa whitening by the door, 
And knew the catbird's welcome. 




Loweirs Home, Elmwood 

And here he died, August 12, 1891, and in Mt. Auburn 
he rests near Longfellow. 

The life of Lowell presents a type of cultivated 
manhood that should be an inspiration to every 
American. It is the best product of republican 
culture. It shows what breadth and beauty and 
richness of life may be attained by the application to 
life of high ideals. Viewing his character as an 



284 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

author, one is first impressed by the extent and 
variety of his powers. 

With such a large range as from the ale-house bench 
Can reach the stars and be at home with both. 

From a campaign song in dialect to a learned essay 

on Dante, an elegant exchange of compliments with 

royalty, or a poem expressing the profoundest experi- 

, ■ enees of the soul, he could pass with equal 
Personal and ^ . . 

Literary and masterly ease ; and with this splendid 

Qua 1 les resourcefulness was always the quality of 
freshness and genuineness, a perennial youthfulness 
of tone. Allied to this is the out-of-door atmosphere 
of his work. From youth to old age he was a lover of 
nature, especially of the fresh, joyous, odorous spring; 
his finest thought rose with the " high tide " of June, 
as Chaucer's inspiration was caught from May. Noth- 
ing in the literature of birdlore is more truly deli- 
cious than the description of his intimacies with 
feathered friends in " M}^ Garden Acquaintance." 

Humor fills his writing like sunshine. The allegro 
element of his genius is always breaking out in 
" quips and cranks and wanton wiles," even sometimes 
at the expense of taste, as when the organ music of 
the " Cathedral " is interrupted by a pun. This irre- 
Humorand pressible impulse of humor, always sweet 
Thought ^j^^ wholesome, gives a fascinating interest 

to his " Letters," which must be reckoned permanently 
among his prose works. Moreover, all his prose is 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 285 

"aerated by wit.'" His shafts are keen, but never 
poisoned. " There is not one touch of cynicism," de- 
clares Howells, " in all that he has written ; and for 
this reason, as a satirist, he stands not only foremost, 
but alone in our language." Quite as characteristic, 
however, as his wit and humor, is the background or 
contrast of serious thought. His fancy plays upon 
the surface of deep waters. Both verse and prose are 
heavily freighted with the rich stores of scholarship 
and thinking, and for this reason Lowell can never be 
popular in the sense that Irving and Longfellow are 
popular. Moreover, his thinking, while it elucidates, 
never perverts or distorts fundamental truth. In re- 
spect to religion, he does not hesitate to express his 
conservative distrust of the radical tendency of the 
age, with its knife and glass — 

That make thought physical and thrust far off 
The Heaven, so neighborly with men of old. 

The critical essays — on Dante, Shakspere, Spenser, 
Dryden, Chaucer, Milton, and other themes — stand at 
the head of critical writing in America. They are 
not easy reading, and to read them appreciatively is 
the mark of a liberal education. He seeks to impress 
the reader just as he is impressed by his 
subject, and the reader who can receive the Essays ; 
full impression is in a way to enjoy the ^°^^ ^ ^ ® 
choicest literary luxury. He does not aim to method- 
ize or exhaust, but to illuminate his theme. He is not 



286 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

coldly judicial like ^latthew Arnold, but warmly ap- 
preciative, enticing the reader into his own enjoyments 
by a delightful companionableness that is more per- 
suasive than any logic of critical principles. The 
amplitude of learning is sometimes bewildering, and 
the ra})id prismatic flashings of new thoughts are 
followed with a kind of breathless despair. The rich- 
ness of expression is often an embarrassment, it is so 
prodigal and profuse ; the sentences are packed with 
meaning, the humor evasive, the language learned, 
the allusions bookish and remote. Yet there is no 
pedantry. He scatters wise and witty epigrams up 
and down his pages, like one who sows from the sack 
instead of from the hand; his style is diffusive, un- 
even, at times running to waywardness and caprice. 
But objections have little force in the presence of such 
scholarly ease, and such a gracious and winning per- 
sonality. He merely exercises the right of genius to 
be natural, without regard for the law. 

Lowell's poetic qualities are well summarized by 
Bayard Taylor. " No one of our poets shows a richer 
or wider range of thought ; no one a greater variety 
of expression in verse. But whatever form his Muse 
may select, it is the individuality of an intellect rather 
Qualities than that of a literary artist which she 
of his Verse represents. The reader is never beguiled 
by studied graces of rhythm ; but on the other hand, 
he is constantly refreshed and stimulated by sudden 
glimpses of heights and splendors of thought which 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 287 

seem to be revealed as much to the poet as to himself. 
Lowell rises with a swift wing, and can upbear him- 
self, when he pleases, on a steady one ; but his nature 
seems hostile to that quality which compels each con- 
ception to shape itself into clear symmetry, and which, 
therefore, limits the willful exercise of the imagina- 
tion. He seems to write under a strong stress of 
natural inspiration, then to shrink from the cooler- 
blooded labor of revision, and the adjustment of the 
rhythmical expression to the informing thought. 
Hence he is frequently unequal, not alone in separate 
poems, but also in different portions of the same 
poem. This is much more evident, however, in his 
earlier than in his later verse. Such poems as 'In 
the Twilight,' ' The Washers of the Shroud,' ' To the 
Muse,' and the greater part of the 'Commemoration 
Ode,' are alike perfect and noble." 

Lowell might have achieved higher distinction had 
he limited himself to one of the several forms of art 
in which he worked with facile ease. " But the very 
multiplicity of his endowments," says Professor Nor- 
ton, " interfered with the complete expres- his Achieve- 
sion of any one of them. His talents ^^^^ 
hampered his genius." There is enough of immuta- 
ble worth, however, in his best work, to secure its 
permanent place among the classics of our language. 
The final judgment of his readers must be in essential 
accord with that of Henry James: "There is noth- 
ing ineffective in his name and fame — they stand for 



288 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

large and delightful things. He is one of the happy 
figures in literature. He had his trammels and his 
sorrows, but he drank deep of the tonic draught, and 
he will long count as an erect fighting figure on the 
side of optimism and beauty. He was strong without 
narrowness, wise without bitterness, and glad without 
fatuity." 

Class Study. — Poetry : The Vision of Sir Launfal ; An 
Indian-Summer Reverie ; To the Dandelion ; Under the Wil- 
lows ; The First Snow-Fail ; The Shepherd of King Admetus ; 
The Courtin' ; The Present Crisis ; The Nest ; In the Twilight ; 
The Commemoration Ode. 

Prose : My Garden Acquaintance ; A Good Word for Winter. 

Class Reading. — Poetry : Under the Old Elm ; Auf VVieder- 
sehen ; A Winter Evening Hynm to My Fire ; The Changeling ; 
Beaver Brook; For an Autograph; Al Fresco; Sunthin' in 
the Pastoral Line ; Pictures from Appledore ; Phoibe ; The 
Cathedral. 

Prose : On a Certain Condescension in Foreigners ; Chaucer ; 
Democracy. 

Biography and Criticism. — Scudder's "James Russell 
Lowell." Underwood's "James Russell Lowell: a Biographi- 
cal Sketch," and "The Poet and the Man : Recollections and 
Appreciations of James Russell Lowell." " Letters of James 
Russell Lowell," edited by Norton. Edward Everett Hale's 
"Lowell and his Friends." Brown's "Life of James Russell 
Lowell." Edward Everett Hale, Jr.'s "James Russell Lowell " 
(Beacon Biographies). Wolfe's "Literary Shrines." Sted- 
man's "Poets of America." Curtis's "Orations and Ad- 
dresses," Vol. III. Woodberry's "Makers of Literature." 
James's "Essays in London." Richardson's "American 
Literature." Higginson's "Old Cambridge." Whipple's 
" Outlooks on Society." Howells's " Literary Friends and 
Acquaintance." Taylor's "Essays and Notes." William 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 289 

Watson's " P^xcursions in Criticism." Wendell's " Stelligeri," 
and "Literary History of America." Carpenter's "American 
Prose" (Norton). Haweis's " American Humorists." Wil- 
kinson's " Free Lance in the Field of Life and Letters." 
Cheney's " That Dome in Air." Underwood's "Builders of 
American Literature." 

Poets" Tributes. — Longfellow's "Herons of Elmwood." 
Aldrich's "Khiiwood." Whittier's "A Welcome to Lowell." 
Holmes's •• Farewell to J. 11. Lowell" ; " At a Birthday Fes- 
tival" ; "To James Russell Lowell"; and "Janies Russell 
Lowell." Margaret J. Preston's " Home-W^elcome to Lowell." 
Richard Wats(jn Gilder's "Lowell." Cranch's "To J. R. L. 
on his Fiftieth Birthday," and "To J. R. L. on his Homeward 
Voyage." 

OLIVER WENDELL HOLMES 

1809-1894 

The last survivor of the Cambridge trio, and of 
the grand New England group, was Oliver Wendell 
Holmes. One after another he bade each of his 
distinguished fellows farewell, and himself lived on 
to fulfill the playful augury of his early poem, " The 
Last Leaf." 

The father of Dr. Holmes was the Rev. Abiel 
Holmes, a minister of the strict Calvinist type, who 
"apart from his religious creed was a gentleman of 
humanity and cultivation." Like many of his clerical 
ancestors, he had a weakness for writing verses, and 
his " Annals of America " is still a use- Ancestry and 
ful historical work. The mother, Sarah ^ome 
Wendell, a pleasing and vivacious woman, was a lineal 
descendant of the "tenth muse," Anne Bradstreet; 



290 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



and his great-grandmother was Dorothy Quincy, whose 
portrait is celebrated in " Dorothy Q." The Hohnes 
family was of the choicest New England stock, the 
Puritan aristocracy, which the poet himself styled 
" the Brahmin Caste." On the margin of the family 

almanac for the year 
1809, against the 
date August 29, 
stands the record of 
the poet's birth, 
" son 6." The birth- 
place, and for many 
years the home, was 
the " old gambrel- 
roofed house " in 
Cambridge, famous 
for its Revolution- 
ary associations ; his 
childhood experi- 
ence here is often 
affectionately re- 
called in his writ- 
ings ; here he received his first impulse toward 
literature in a liberally selected library, where, as he 
says, he " bumped about among books from the time 
when he was hardly taller than one of his father's 
or grandfather's folios." 

He prepared for college at Phillips Academy, An- 
dover, and was graduated from Harvard in "the 




Oliver Wendell Holmes 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 291 

famous class of '29," in celebration of the good fel- 
lowship of which he wrote many of his cleverest 
poems. Among his classmates were the ^^ 
distinguished clergymen, James Freeman First Taste 
Clarke, and Samuel F. Smith, the author 
of " America." For a year after graduation he studied 
law, and during that time, he says, "first tasted the 
intoxicating pleasures of authorship." He wrote for 
a college periodical, and from this first " lead poison- 
ing," caused by " mental contact with type metal," 
fortunately for the world, he never fully recovered. 
One poem published at this time brought him swiftly 
to fame. He read in a newspaper that the old frigate 
Constitution had been condemned by the government, 
and with an impulse of patriotic indignation wrote the 
impetuous lyric " Old Ironsides." 

Ay, tear her tattered ensign down ! 

The ringing protest was copied in all the papers, 
quoted in speeches, and distributed as a handbill on 
the streets, until public sentiment was aroused and 
the old ship was saved. 

For no very definite reason, law was abandoned for 
medicine, and two years and a half were spent in 
Paris in earnest and enthusiastic study. In 1836 the 
well-equipped young doctor began his practice in Bos- 
ton, but accomplished little more than a beginning; 
his professional success was to be won as a teacher 
rather than as a practitioner. A doctor's duties proved 



292 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

to be not altogether to his taste, and moreover, his 
growing reputation as a wit and poet made against his 
Doctor and reputation as a sober physician. He was 
Professor '^mightily pleased" therefore by the ap- 
pointment in 1838 to a professorship of anatomy in 
Dartmouth College ; in 1847 he was called to a simi- 
lar professorship in the Medical Sch'ool at Harvard, 
a position which he held for thirty-five years. Few 
instructors ever succeeded so well in making the dry 
subject of anatomy interesting; he brought to it plen- 
tiful knowledge, patience, and earnestness, and an easy 
flowing abundance of apt and witty illustration, that 
added effectiveness as well as interest to his instruction. 
He also made some valuable contributions to medical 
science, and his works include a volume of " Medical 
Essays," in which are the two celebrated papers against 
Homeopathy, a subject that " led him in his earnest- 
ness," says his biographer, "to utter some of the happi- 
est of his brilliant sentences, however distasteful they 
may be to some readers." 

From the outset the practice of poetry went hand 
in hand with the practice of his profession. During 
his first year in a doctor's chaise, our jolly physician 
"The Last published a volume of exuberant and 
"^* t ' witty verses, among them being " The Last 

peddling" Leaf," a poem which Abraham Lincoln 
found "inexpressibly touching," and probably unsur- 
passed for tender mingling of humor and pathos. He 
was drawn into the " lecture lyceum " of the period. 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 293 

and his experiences in "lecture-peddling," happily 
described in the " Autocrat," were not entirely agree- 
able, but were in a sense a necessity ; for in 1840 he 
had married "the kindest, tenderest, and gentlest of 
women," and the home now established in Boston 
had to be sustained by his wits. Of his three chil- 
dren, the only survivor, now a judge of the Supreme 
Court, was the wounded hero of the essay, " My Hunt 
after the Captain." 

When the Atlantic Monthly was established in 1857, 
Lowell accepted the editorship on condition that Dr. 
Holmes should be "the first contributor to be en- 
gaged." Thus it happened that he was awakened by 
Lowell, he says, " from a kind of literary lethargy " ; 
and it was an auspicious awakening. He gave to the 
new magazine its name and its first fame. The " Auto- 
In the first number appeared the opening crafSenes 
installment of the "Autocrat of the Breakfast Table," 
with its droll beginning, "I was just going to say, 
when I was interrupted." The interruption had been 
just a quarter of a century, for in 1832 he had contrib- 
uted two papers to the New England Magazine under 
the same felicitous title. These he regarded as the 
"crude products of his uncombed literary boyhood," 
but they suggested the thought "that it would be a 
curious experiment to shake the same bough again 
and see if the ripe fruit were better or worse than 
the early windfalls." The fruit proved to be thor- 
oughly ripe, juicy and delicious, and people of taste 



294 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

are still feasting upon it. The " Autocrat " was fol- 
lowed by the " Professor at the Breakfast Table," and 
to this succeeded, twelve years later, the " Poet at the 
Breakfast Table." The character sketches, bright 
dialogue, and imaginative passages in these papers 
suggested the possibility of a complete novel ; readers 
were, therefore, not surprised by the appearance of 
two delightful stories, "Elsie Venner," 1861, and 
"The Guardian Angel," 1867. Twenty years later 
he wrote a third novel, "A Mortal Antipathy," which 
is much inferior to the others. 

Holmes always drove a double team of prose and 
verse. In the same year with " Elsie Venner " he pub- 
lished " Songs in Many Keys," and in 1874, " Songs 
of Many Seasons." The occasion of his seventieth 
birthday was made memorable by a "Breakfast" 
given in his honor by the publishers of the Atlantic, 
Autumn 3,t which nearly all of the eminent repre- 

Fruits sentatives of American letters were present. 

For this event Holmes wrote "The Iron Gate," a 
cheerful description of old age : — 

I come not here your morning hour to sadden, 
A limping pilgrim, leaning on his staff, — 

I, who have never deemed it sin to gladden 
This vale of sorrows with a wholesome laugh. 

He had now reached the scriptural limit, but his old 
age was marvelously youthful. Five years later Bur- 
roughs wrote of him truly : " May is in his heart, and 
early autumn in his brain." He resigned his profes- 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 295 

sorship in 1882, and soon after published the gracious 
and sympathetic " Life of Emerson." In 1886 he 
made a visit to Europe with his daughter, which, in 
his biographer's words, "was in reality a triumphal 
tour ; he was overwhelmed with attentions, so that it 
was only by extreme care that he extricated himself 
alive from the hospitalities of his British friends." 
Degrees were conferred upon him by the universities 
of Oxford, Cambridge, and Edinburgh. The record of 
this flattering experience is given in "Our Hundred 
Days in Europe." 

Once more, in 1889, the Autocrat, now in his 
eightieth year, shook the old bough, and a series of 
cheerful, chatty papers, happily christened " Over the 
Tea-cups," appeared in the Atlantic. Although, as he 
knew, he could not make his "evening tea-cups as 
much of a success as his morning coffee-cups," yet 
there is the familiar play of the old-time wit and wis- 
dom. A last volume of poems was \)\\t forth with the 
appropriate title "Before the Curfew," like Longfellow's 
"In the Harbor," and Whittier's "At Sundown." 
Slowly and gently the frost of age settled upon him, 
until the "last leaf" fell, October 7, 1894. 

Few men of letters have been so lovable and so be- 
loved as Dr. Holmes, and largely because few have 
revealed so frankly and fully their person- 
alities in their writings. His books are a 
continuous autobiography ; he was always " a Boswell 
writing out himself." The little egoisms and vanities 



296 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

that necessarily accompany such self-revelation serve 
only to make him the more human and approachable. He 
loved praise and believed in its virtues. " 1 purr very 
loud over a good, honest letter that says pretty things 
of me," remarks the Autocrat. He was the prince of 
talkers, and in that notable galaxy of writers who sat 
about the table of the " Saturday Club," he was easily 
the brightest star. " Perhaps no man of modern times," 
says Edmund Gosse, "has given his contemporaries a 
more extraordinary impression of wit in conversation." 
Aldrich hails him as : — 

Our Yankee Tsar, our Autocrat 
Of all the happy realms of wit. 

Provincial he was, proudly and avowedly. The New 
England flavor is in all his work. To him Boston was 
" the hub of the universe," and for everything within 
sight of the State House dome he exhibited a kind of 
cockneyish devotion. He was the laureate of his city 
and university, and for nearly a half century a public 
event seldom occurred in either without being graced 
by the presence of his sprightly Muse. Indeed his 
easy acceptance of this civic and social responsibility 
marks the chief limitation of his poetry, as he at times 
perhaps realized. 

I'm a florist in verse, and what would people say 
If I came to a banquet without my bouquet ? 

Although Dr. Holmes is inevitably thought of as a 
humorist, "A fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 297 

fancy," there was a sober side of his nature and a 
serious purpose in his work. "Outside I laugh," he 
once remarked to a friend, " inside I never laugh. It 
is impossible. The world is too sad." Here is the 
true humorist, the humorist who laughs with the world 
and not at it, whose laughter and tears spring from a 
common source in a tender, sympathetic heart. With 
all his ebullient spirits, he could not escape Humor, con- 
entirely the inheritance of the preacher; servatism, 
even in his wittiest writing he manages to Piety 
administer his little moral, delicately sugar coated, but 
wholesome and purifying. It was his desire, he says, 
" to leave the world a little more human than if I had 
not lived." In social and political matters he was 
conservative. Of all the New England group he was 
least influenced by the enthusiasms of the period ; the 
Transcendentalists did not affect him — except to 
laughter, and the abolitionists reproached him in vain 
for his indifference. But he was not wanting in 
patriotism, and when the crisis came, in such lyrics as 
the "Voice of the Loyal North," " God Save the Flag," 
"Never or Now," his voice rang as clear, if not as 
loud, as Whittier's. In religion he was radical, and 
his habit of rattling the dry bones of Puritan theology 
would be monotonous were it not for the entertaining 
display of wit and logic that always accompanies the 
process. Creeds and dogmas he could not abide, but 
he was a faithful church-goer. " There is a little plant 
called Reverence in the corner of my soul's garden, 



298 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

which I love to have watered about once a week." 
Such was the gentle Autocrat's piety. 

Dr. Holmes will always be known in litera-ture as 
the " Autocrat." By the three volumes of that series 
his literary reputation was chiefly made, and in them 
it will live. He created an essentially new prose 
form, a conversational monologue interspersed with 
poetry, a kind of dramatized essay. The Autocrat 
presides at a boarding-house table and entertains his 
fellow-boarders with witty and wise comment upon 
subjects that follow each other in a delightfully hap- 
hazard sequence. It is table-talk of the rarest and 
richest kind. " The index of the Autocrat is itself a 
unique work," says Curtis. " It reveals the whimsical 
discursiveness of the book; the restless hovering of 
The Auto- that brilliant talk over every topic, fancy, 
crat's Prose feeling, fact; a humming-bird sipping the 
one honeyed drop from every flower; or a huma, to 
use its own droll and capital symbol of the lyceum 
lecturer, the bird that never lights. There are few 
books that leave more distinctly the impression of a 
mind teeming with riches of many kinds." The style 
is easy and colloquial, keeping time with the topic, but 
never careless or commonplace. In all of Dr. Holmes's 
prose there is a " brisk and crisp and sparkling charm." 
His scientific training is shown in his similes and meta- 
phors, and in his accurate observation and precise ex- 
pression. He is always clear, logical, and definite. A 
few excerpts will illustrate the Autocrat's manner : — 



vi] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 299 

Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. 

Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used till they are 
seasoned. 

Good feeling helps society to make liars of most of us — not 
absolute liars, but such careless handlers of truth that its sharp 
corners get terribly rounded. 

The clergy rarely hear any sermons except what they preach 
themselves. A dull preacher might be conceived, therefore, to 
lapse into a state of qnasi heathenism, simply for want of reli- 
gious instruction. 

Every poem has a soul and a body, and it is the body of it, 
or the copy, that men read and publishers pay for. The soul 
of it is born in an instant in the poet's soul. It comes to him a 
thought, tangled in the meshes of a few sweet words — words 
that have loved each other from the cradle of the language, but 
have never been wedded until now. 

Possibilities, Sir ? — said the divinity-student ; — can't a man 
who says Haaw ? arrive at distinction ? 

Sir, — I replied, — in a republic all things are possible. But 
the man xmth a future has almost of necessity sense enough to 
see that any odious trick of speech or manners must be got rid of. 

Do you want an image of the human will, or the self-deter- 
mining principle, as compared with its prearranged and impassi- 
ble restrictions ? A drop of water, imprisoned in a crystal ; 
you may see such a one in any mineralogical collection. One 
little fluid particle in the crystalline prism of the solid universe ! 

Ah me ! what strains and strophes of unwritten verse pulsate 
through my soul when I open a certain closet in the ancient 
house where I was born ! On its shelves used to lie bundles of 
sweet-marjoram and pennyroyal and lavender and mint and 
catnip ; there apples were stored until their seeds should grow 
black, which happy period there were sharp little milk-teeth 
always ready to anticipate ; there peaches lay in the dark, 
thinking of the sunshine they had lost, until, like the hearts 
of saints that dream of heaven in their sorrow, they grow 
fragrant as the breath of angels. The odorous echo of a score 
of dead summers lingers yet in those dim recesses. 



300 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

The three novels all deal with Dr. Holmes's favorite 
theme, — the doctrine of heredity and its bearing upon 
free will and moral accountability. The prominence 
of the psycho-physiological element led some one to 
call them " medicated novels." The chief literary in- 
terest is in the New England environment of 
The Novels 

the stories. " Elsie Venner " still exercises 
its fascinating, somewhat uncanny, influence over many 
readers, and the " Guardian Angel,'" in Eichardson's 
judgment, "narrowly escapes being a great novel." 
But Holmes has not the art of the story-teller; he 
is too discursive, being tempted by his scurrying 
thoughts away from the tale into every attractive 
side-path of comment and speculation. He cannot 
suppress himself, and hence is usually the most inter- 
esting character in the book. " On the whole," con- 
cludes Stedman, "the novels and the Autocrat volumes 
were indigenous works, in plot and style behind the 
deft creations of our day, but with their writer's 
acumen everywhere conspicuous." 

As a poet of occasion, Holmes was without a peer. 
His marvelous facility never failed him. A pertinent 
topic was always ready, and treated with telling 
aptness and pungent wit. His resources for happy 
similes and anecdotes, verbal drolleries, frolicsome 
puns, quaint analogies, and brilliant epigrams seemed 
inexhaustible. Age could not wither him nor custom 
stale his infinite variety. Lowell neatly figures this 
profuseness of wit as "Holmes's rockets," that — 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 301 

Curve their long ellipse, 
And burst in seeds of fire that burst again 
To drop in scintillating rain. 

But poetry written to order for an occasion is per- 
ishable, and much of Holmes's wittiest verse has, 
for this reason, a frail hold upon immor- poetic 
tality. His finest qualities are represented Limitations, 
by the lofty beauty of the " Chambered Nautilus," the 
playful tenderness of the " Last Leaf," and the de- 
licious humor of the " Deacon's Masterpiece," and in 
such poems as these his fame will live. In poetic 
style he was conservative, holding to the old-fashioned 
models. His favorite form is the Augustan couplet, 
which with loving care he attunes and modulates to 
suit his lively fancy. His verse always possesses the 
eighteenth-century clarity, precision, and finish ; there 
is no subtlety of thought in it, and no sensuous delight 
in mere melody ; but within the limits prescribed by 
his taste his rhythms are perfect in form and sound. 

The most conspicuous fact about Dr. Holmes is his 
versatility. Few men reach so high a degree of merit 
in so many directions. He was poet, essayist, novelist, 
wit, humorist, medical writer, and college lecturer. 

During his lifetime he was perhaps most 

vcrsd.xii6 

often thought of as an after-dinner poet. Mind and 
and for the poetry of occasion he "always ^^^^^y^^^^^ 
had the essential lightness of touch and the right 
mingling of wit and sentiment," says Lodge. " But 
he was very much more than a writer of occasional 



302 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

verse, and his extraordinary success in this direction 
has tended to obscure his much higher successes, and 
to cause men to overlook the fact that he was a true 
poet in the best sense." We can be sure that he was 
not always satisfied himself with the pretty "blos- 
soms " with which he decorated so many occasions : — 

To me more fair 
The buds of song that never blow. 

Much of his serious nature flowed out in airy mockery 
of folly, sham, and wrong ; but " with all his power of 
ridicule," says Leslie Stephen, " Holmes had not a 
touch of the satirist about him. He shrinks from 
painting even his enemies in too black colors. He 
can denounce bigotry ; but he always prefers to point 
out that the bigot in theory may be the kindliest of 
men in practice. He is one of the writers who are 
destined to live long — longer, it may be, than some 
of greater intellectual force and higher imagination, 
because he succeeds so admirably in flavoring the 
milk of human kindness with an element which is 
not acid, and yet gets rid of the mawkishness which 
sometimes makes good morality terribly insipid." 

Class Study. — Poetry: Old Ironsides; The Last, Leaf ; The 
Chambered Nautilus ; The Voiceless ; The Crooked Footpath ; 
Union and Liberty; God Save the Flag; Conteritment; The 
Deacon's Masterpiece ; Grandmother's Story '5f Bunker Hill 
Battle ; The Boys ; The Living Temple ; The Irpi/Gate. 

Prose : The Autocrat of the Breakfast Table. 

Class Reading. — Poetry: A Ballad of the Boston Tea- 
Party ; Aunt Tabitha; Dorothy Q. ; Homesi(2k in Heaven ; The 



VI] THE CAMBRIDGE POETS 30B 

Prologue ; The Broomstick Train ; The Schoolboy ; Under the 
Violets ; The Height of the Ridiculous ; Brother Jonathan's 
Lament for Sister Caroline ; Never or Now ; Parson Turell's 
Legacy ; Epilogue to the Breakfast Table Series. 

Prose : My Hunt after the Captain ; Elsie Venner ; Over the 
Teacups. 

Biography and Criticism. — Morse's "Life and Letters 
of Oliver Wendell Holmes." Kennedy's "Oliver Wendell 
Holmes." Brown's " Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes. " Mrs. 
Fields's " Authors and Friends." Jerrold's " Oliver Wendell 
Holmes" (Dilettante Library). Mrs. Phelps- Ward's "Chap- 
ters from a Life." Stoddard's "American Poets and Their 
Homes." Oilman's "Poets' Homes." Autobiographic Remi- 
niscences in "Pages from an Old Volume of Life" ; "The 
New Portfolio" ; and the poem " The Schoolboy." Stedman's 
" Poets of America." Curtis's "Literary and Social Essays." 
Lodge's " Certain Accepted Heroes, and Other Essays." Rich- 
ardson's "American Literature," Vol. I, chap. 10; Vol. II, 
chap. 6. Leslie Stephen's " Studies of a Biographer," Vol. II_ 
Higginson's " Old Cambridge." Whipple's "American Liter- 
ature." Lowell's " Fable for Critics." Howells's "Literary 
Friends and Acquaintance." Wendell's "Literary History 
of America." Smalley's "Studies of Men." Carpenter's 
"American Prose." Whittier's "Literary Recreations." 

Poets' Tributes. — Whittier's "Our Autocrat," and "To 
Oliver Wendell Holmes." Aldrich's " The Sailing of the 
Autocrat." Lowell's "To O. W. H. on his 75th Birthday." 
Edmund Gosse's " Letter to Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes on 
his 75th Birthday." Gilder's "August 29, 1809." Bret 
Harte's "Our Laureate." Mrs. Dorr's "O. W. H." Helen 
Hunt Jackson's " To Oliver Wendell Holmes on his 70th 
Birthday." Trowbridge's "Filling an Order." Stedman's 
"Ergo Iris." Winter's "Oliver Wendell Holmes; or the 
Chieftain." Lucy Larcom's " O. W. H." Cranch's "To 
Oliver Wendell Holmes." 



CHAPTER VII 

LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 

One of the most interesting features of our national 
progress is the rapid development in recent years of 
literature in the South. A "new South" has arisen 
since the Civil War, with new impulses and new 
ideals. Sectionalism has given way to national inter- 
ests and sympathies. Much that was picturesque and 
beautiful under the old rdgime has disappeared for- 
The New ever, and sons of the last generation, like 
South JqqI Chandler Harris, cannot but look back 

with tender emotions to " the dear remembered days." 
But tears of regret soon vanish in the warm flush of a 
new energy put forth to bring the life of the South 
into closer touch with the life of the nation and of 
the world. Of this new, hopeful, aspiring South the 
Southern poet, Maurice Thompson, sings : — 

The South whose gaze is cast 

No more upon the past, 
But whose bright eyes the skies of promise sweep, 
Whose feet in paths of progress swiftly leap ; 
And whose fresh thoughts, like cheerful rivers run, 
Through odorous ways to meet the morning sun ! 

Before the Civil War the conditions of the South 
were unfavorable for literary production. King Cot- 
304 



CHAP, vii ] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 305 

ton did not invite the poets to liis court. There was 
no large reading public to encourage and support 
genius, there were no large publishing houses, and no 
large centers of intellectual influence like some of 
the Northern cities. There was literary taste and 
culture in many of the isolated families on the great 
plantations, but it was unproductive, con- ^^.^. ^ 
servative, and in complete vassalage to unfavorable 
England, held in complacent submission 
by the rules of Pope and Addison's school. The 
active intellectual forces were engaged with the prob- 
lems engendered by slavery, and talent was attracted 
to politics and oratory; men of gifts and ambition 
became lawyers and statesmen. Moreover, to devote 
oneself to the service of the muses was regarded as 
an unmanly occupation, hence imaginative literature 
suffered from the disparagement of a mild contempt. 
Simms, the novelist, complained bitterly of social 
neglect incurred by his choice of literature as a pro- 
fession. Longstreet, the author of " Georgia Scenes," 
one of the raciest volumes of local sketches in our 
literature, made strenuous efforts to suppress his book 
after its publication, and Richard Henry Wilde, law- 
yer and member of Congress, could not be induced to 
acknowledge his authorship of the beautiful little 
lyric, "My Life is like the Summer Rose," until it 
was being claimed by others. It should be said, how- 
ever, that nowhere in the United States, in those days, 
was literature so highly valued as to justify, to prac- 



306 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

tical minds, its choice as a profession to live by. 
Even our greatest authors prudently fortified them- 
selves against material needs by a professorship or 
other means of permanent income. 

Under these discouraging conditions the efforts of 
ante-bellum writers to establish a literature for their 
section necessarily resulted in a pretty uniform suc- 
cession of failures. Of the poets of this early period, 

Poe alone rose to enduring fame. One 
Early Efforts , , , , . . . ^ . 

may gather a chaplet oi wilding verses 

that sprang up like careless flowers along the way- 
sides, now faded somewhat, yet still breathing the 
perfumes of the Southern wind ; like Pinkney's 
^'A Health," Albert Pike's "To the Mocking-Bird," 
Philip Pendleton Cooke's **Florence Vane," O'Hara's 
" Bivouac of the Dead," Foster's " My Old Kentucky 
Home," Simms's " Lost Pleiad," and Wilde's delicate 
little lyric that is still as tenderly sweet as a spray of 
jasmine. 

The effort in fiction was more serious and success- 
ful. Three writers, at least, gained temporarily a 
national celebrity, which is not even yet entirely 
obscured. John Pendleton Kennedy, John Esten 
Cooke, and William Gilmore Simms, aspiring to do 

, ^ „ ^, for their birthland what Irving, Cooper, 
jonn Pendle- 

ton Kennedy, and Hawthorne were doing for local tradi- 
1795-1870 ^^^^ ^^^ history in the North, wrote affec- 
tionately and well of the customs, scenery, and history 
of their native states. Kennedy's " Swallow Barn," 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 307 

published in 1832, is a graceful narrative in the 
manner of "Bracebridge Hall," describing rural life 
and character in Virginia just after the Revolution. 
His stirring romance, "Horseshoe Robinson," deals 
with a real hero and real scenes in South Carolina 
during the Revolution. " Rob of the Bowl " pictures 
his native Maryland in colonial days. Cooke's " Vir- 
ginia Comedians," in Richardson's judgment "the best 
novel written in the Southern States before the Civil 
War," is a faithful transcript of the grand old chival- 
rous times when picturesque Williamsburg was the 

social capital, "when the old burg was the , ^ „ ^ 

'- ' ^ JohnEsten 

seat of fashion, taste, refinement, hospital- Cooke, 
ity, wealth, wit, and all the social graces." ^^^o-isse 
Cooke was a " Virginian of the Virginians," loyal in 
heart and deed to his people ; he fought bravely for 
the Confederate cause, accepted the result without 
bitterness, and engaged again busily in the making 
of books. " Surry of Eagle's Nest " and other war 
stories perhaps justify a Southern critic in saying 
that he " must ever remain preeminently the novelist 
of the war from the Southern standpoint." But his 
novels are of the old romantic-sentimental type, and 
the brocaded English, Byronesque heroes, and un- 
natural action of this type of fiction have lost their 
charm. Shortly before his death Cooke said: "Mr. 
Howell s and the other realists have crowded me out 
of the popular regard as a novelist, and have brought 
the kind of fiction I write into general disfavor. I do 



308 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

not complain of that, for they are right. They see, 
as I do, that fiction should faithfully reflect life, and 
they obey the law, while I was born too soon, and am 
now too old to learn my trade anew." The change 
recorded in this quotation marked an epoch in our 
literature. 

WILLIAM GILMORE SIMMS 

1806-1870 

William Gilmore Simms was a stalwart and volu- 
minous writer of novels, poems, history, biography, 
political tracts — everything known to the pen. More 
than thirty novels are counted in the long list of his 
works. He was called the " Southern Cooper." In a 
manner like Cooper's, though not equal to it, he dealt 
A "Southern with Indians, frontier adventure, colonial 
Cooper " ijfg^ aj^(j Revolutionary history, so success- 

fully as to bring him wide popularity and liberal 
profit. " The Yemassee," his best novel, is a vigor- 
ous and vivid picture of the Southern wilderness, 
with Indian characters drawn more true to life than 
Cooper's lay -figures of the forest. " The Partisan," a 
tale of Marion's men, is the best of his Revolutionary 
romances, and is still a good boy's book, with power 
enough to hold older readers. Other romances of the 
Revolution are " Mellichampe," "Katharine Walton," 
and '' Eutaw." As literature, Simms's stories of wild 
and bloody adventure have served their day and gen- 
eration, and are read no more ; but some of them de- 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 309 

serve to be rescued from oblivion for their historic 
value. He was a devoted student of local history, 
and the materials of his backgrounds he Literary 
knew thoroughly well. His workmanship, Shortcomings 
however, was coarse and careless, wanting entirely in 
deftness, grace, and finish. He wrote at a galloping 
pace, astonishing his friends with feats of productive 
strength, in a pompous and stilted style that exhibits 
too generally a happy indifference to the proprieties 
of construction, aiming at striking effects by means 
of rapid action, picturesque scenery, and sensational 
incidents. Yet Simms stands in the presence of the 
skilled craftsmen of to-day not wholly without claims 
to respect. In a moderate summary his biographer 
says : '' He has described with vigor, and sometimes 
with charm, the events of an interesting epoch ; he 
has reproduced the characteristic features of a life 
that is gone; he has painted a landscape, which, if 
it still exists, has nevertheless been subject to many 
changes. Ko one will ever do the same work as well; 
and it was worth doing." 

The literary activities of the South were chiefly 
centered in Charleston, Simms's native city. Here, 
Maecenas-like, Simms gathered about him a company 
of young writers ambitious to become the founders 
of a Southern literature. Simms believed His 
himself a poet, and published some seven- influence 
teen volumes of verse in support of his conviction; 
but his best contribution to poetry was made in plant- 



310 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

ing high hopes in the hearts of younger men, like 
Hayne and Timrod, who possessed the true poetic 
gift. At " Woodlands," his beautiful country home, 
he dispensed a liberal old-time hospitality, entertain- 
ing royally all who came in the name and fellowship 
of letters. As a stanch pioneer and patron, inspirit- 
ing, nurturing by his enthusiasm the frail beginnings 
of a literature, Simms exerted an influence for which 
his name, if not his books, should long be held in 
honor. 

EDGAR ALLAN POE 
1809-1849 

The most important influence emanating from these 
literary strivings of the South, strong, permanent, and 
far-reaching, was the work of Edgar Allan Poe, a 
strange and solitary figure in American literature. 
Though not a full-born son of the South, in natural 
temperament and in the tone and coloring of his writ- 
ing he was thoroughly Southern. 

Edgar Poe, grandson of David Poe, a Kevolutionary 
patriot and founder of the family in Maryland, was 
born in Boston, January 19, 1809. The father had 
married an English actress in 1805, adopted her pro- 
fession, and thereby alienated himself from 
beginning in Ms family. In 1811, owing to the illness 
Misfortune ^^ ^^.^ p^^^ ^^^^ strolling family became 

objects of charity in Richmond, and a benefit was 
given them, the advertisement being addressed "To 



VIl] 



LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 



311 



the Humane." A few days later the mother died 
leaving three children, — William, Edgar, and Ro- 
salie ; of the father nothing further is known. The 
bright and attractive child Edgar was adopted by Mr. 
John Allan, a wealthy tobacco merchant, in whose 
household his 
boyhood was 
spent in luxury, 
indulgence, and 
flattery. At six 
he could read, 
sing, dance, and 
recite passages 
from the great 
poets " in a sweet 
voice and with 
clear enuncia- 
tion." Another 
early accomplish- 
ment, of evil 
portent, was to 
stand An a chair 
and pledge the guests at table 
glass of wine. 

The Allans went to England in 1815 and for about 
five years Edgar attended school at Stoke Newington, 
near London, spending vacations in travel with his 
foster parents. Here he showed a " scholarly spirit," 
learned to speak French and read Latin, and for one 




Edgar Allan Poe 

right roguishly " in a 



312 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

of his years acquired a wide knowledge of history and 
literature. Dr. Bransby, the parson-teacher, remem- 
bered that he "liked him," and that his 

Education -i t i . 

parents "spoiled him ' with pocket money. 

Recollections of this school were woven into the ro- 
mance, "William Wilson." Eeturning to Richmond, 
he studied with good teachers, attracted attention for 
his cleverness in verse making, and became foremost 
in athletic sports, performing feats of swimming equal 
to those of Byron. In 1826 he entered the University 
of Virginia, established a reputation for scholarship, 
and won highest honors in Latin and French. But he 
also made a reputation for drinking and gambling, the 
common vices of the period, indulging with a " peculiar 
recklessness," which however was " indicative of ex- 
citable temperament rather than pleasure in his cups 
or cards." Mr. Allan learning of his large gambling 
debts refused to honor them, removed him from college 
before the end of the first year, and placed him in his 
own counting-room. An impulsive and willful dispo- 
sition, pampered by long indulgence, could not be sud- 
denly disciplined into stable habits by this treatment ; 
not strangely, therefore, the high-spirited young poet 
broke the parental tie, went to Boston in search of his 
Military fortune, and enlisted in the regular army. 

Experience After two years of service, with promotion 
to the rank of Sergeant Major, a reconciliation with 
Mr. Allan was effected and an appointment obtained at 
West Point. Less than a year of this scholastic mili- 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 313 

tarism was enough for his restless spirit, and, as he was 
not permitted to resign, expulsion was brought about by 
means of his own devising. This caused the final break 
with his foster father, and Poe was now launched upon 
his career of literary adventure, poverty, suffering, 
and despair. At West Point as elsewhere he had dis- 
tinguished himself by singularities of mind and habits, 
brilliant intellectual powers, and " a wonderful ai)titude 
for mathematics," and as " a devourer of books " with 
a " wayward and capricious temper." 

During this military trifling the poetic desire had 
been stirring within him. At Boston, in 1827, he 
managed to publish a thin volume of Byronic imita- 
tions, entitled " Tamerlane, and Other Poems," con- 
taining little or no suggestion of his future style. 
Two years later "Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor 
Poems" appeared at Baltimore. In 1831 ^.^^^ 
he published at New York a third volume volumes 
entitled simply " Poems," apparently with ° ° '^ 
subscriptions obtained from the cadets on leaving West 
Point, who looked for interesting local squibs in the 
volume. But his poetic art was always treated seri- 
ously by Poe, almost sacredly. The volume contained 
only revised versions of the old poems, with a few new 
ones, among them two of his choicest lyrics — "To 
Helen " and the first draft of the exquisite " Israf el," 
which Woodberry calls the " first pure song of the 
poet, the notes most clear and liquid and soaring of 
all he ever sang." 



314 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

The outcast now found a home in Baltimore with an 
aunt, Mrs. Clemm, whose daughter Virginia became his 
wife. In 1833 he won a prize of one hundred dollars, 
offered by a Baltimore literary journal, with the story 
" A MS. Found in a Bottle." One of the judges was 
John P. Kennedy, to whom for friendly aid at this 
First Prose ^i^® Poe declared himself to be indebted 
work afop life itself." "I found him," wrote, 

Kennedy in his diary, "in a state of starvation. I 
gave him clothing, free access to my table, and the use 
of a horse for exercise whenever he chose; in fact, 
brought him up from the very verge of despair." 
Through Kennedy's assistance Poe obtained the edi- 
torship of the Southern Literary Messenger, which 
under his able management became one of the leading 
magazines of the country. In the heyday of success he 
lost this position, probably through irregular habits. 

The next six years Poe spent mainly in Philadel- 
phia, a hackwriter for booksellers, magazines, and 
" annuals," editing for a time The Gentleman's Maga- 
zine and Graham's Magazine. In 1839 he published 
a collection of his magazine stories, "Tales of the 
Grotesque and Arabesque," a title descriptive of the 
two extremes of his method in fiction. In 1844 he 
Editorial moved to New York, edited the Broadivay 
Labor; Sor- Journal, and was associated with Willis on 
the Evening Mirror, in which in 1845 " The 
Raven" appeared, making him for the hour the 
most famous literary man in America. Prosperity 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 315 

was now within reach. But " unmerciful disaster," 
like an avenging spirit, through his whole career " fol- 
lowed fast and followed faster." His health was pre- 
maturely shattered by overwork, by poverty, and by 
intemi:)erance, against which he struggled, manfully at 
times, but always in a losing fight. In the little cot- 
tage at Fordham, in most pitiable destitution, he 
watched at the deathbed of his child wife, Virginia, 
his "Ulalume," whom he worshiped with devoted 
love, a love beautifully symbolized in " Eleonora." 
For years he had seen the life of this frail wife ebb- 
ing away and when her delicate spirit passed 

To the Lethean peace of the skies, 

the hope of his own soul was gone. Two years longer 
he kept up the contest with his evil destiny, and then 
in an hour of supreme expectation yielded to the final 
triumph of the demon in the cup. He died October 7, 
1849, in a hospital in Baltimore, whither he had been 
carried from the street in a state of unconsciousness. 

A memorial tablet in the New York Museum of Art 
bears this inscription: "He was great in his genius, 
unhappy in his life, wretched in his death, but in his 
fame he is immortal." 

The evil genius that attended Poe through life has 
ruthlessly pursued his memory. Few poets have ever 
suffered so cruelly from the prejudice and scorn of 
their own countrymen. His first biographer, Griswold, 
wrote an infamous book whose poison has been effec- 



316 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

tive for nearly half a century ; his last and most com- 
petent biographer, Professor Woodberry, is moved 
Personal from a calm judicial poise neither by sym- 
Misfortunes pathy nor by charity. In a single sen- 
tence Poe described himself : " My life has been 
whim — impulse — passion — a longing for solitude — 
a scorn of all things present in an earnest desire for 
the future.'^ He was proud, vain, erratic, with an ex- 
ceedingly sensitive and morose temperament ; and he 
drank, and in his last years took opium. Intem- 
perance was inherited, instilled by education, and 
invited by suffering — a fatal frailty which he shared 
with Coleridge, De Quincey, and Lamb. In personal 
manners he was refined and gentlemanly, in conversa- 
tion elegant and fascinating, in his domestic life pure, 
loving, and beloved. 

Poe must be studied as critic, poet, and romancer ; 
in each department his work was original and founda- 
tional. He gave models to American authors at a 
time when new models and new methods were much 
needed. In his reviews of new books, which he 
always made a prominent feature of his editorial 
work, he taught American authors their first lesson 
in independent criticism, demonstrating the function 
Poe's Work of taste and literary principles. His criti- 
as a Critic (.jgjj^ ^yr^g acute, fearless, often severe, and 
sometimes unjust, owing to personal animosities. "He 
seems at times," said Lowell, " to mistake his vial of 
prussic acid for his inkstand." But acid was needed 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 317 

to counteract the saccharine quality of the criticism of 
the period, which served mainly as a means of mutual 
compliment among authors. His most important judg- 
ments have all been confirmed by subsequent fame. 
He was one of the first to proclaim the true genius of 
Lowell, Hawthorne, Mrs. Browning, Dickens, and Ten- 
nyson. Longfellow he foolishly accused of plagiarism, 
yet rated him as the greatest American poet. He was 
a free lance, and punctured relentlessly the pufferies of 
mediocrity, thereby raising a storm of slanderous and 
revengeful abuse. The " Literati '^ and " Marginalia " 
are still piquant reading and suggestive criticism. 

As a poet Poe worked in a very limited field, but 
within his limits he made himself supreme. He is the 
poet of one mood ; melancholy possesses his soul ; he 
walks in the shadow of death, and despairing grief is 
his theme. The season of his inspiration is "lone- 
some October," the place, the " dank tarn of Auber," 
the hour, " midnight dreary." There is little objective 
reality in his verse or prose; he works in 
the pure ether of the imagination. The istics of his 
characters are bloodless, ghostly, or angelic. °® '^ 
Landscape, incident, persons, and places have no exist- 
ence outside his fancy. He is a lesser Coleridge. The 
chief pleasure of his poetry arises from its exquisite 
melody. There is a potent magic in his expression, 
quite independent of the symbolic meaning his words 
are intended to convey. In the "Haunted Palace," 
for example, one loses the allegory while listening to 



318 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the music. Upon the simplest verse forms, usually 
the ballad measure, he imposes a rhythmic beauty, 
prolonged by the refrain in a strange haunting appeal, 
that is marvelous. Stedman calls him the " forerun- 
ner of our chief experts in form and sound." And 
similarly the English poet-critic Gosse declares : " Poe 
has proved himself to be the Piper of Hamelin to all 
later English poets. From Tennyson to Austin Dob- 
son there is hardly one whose verse music does not 
show traces of Poe's influence." 

Poe worked out a theory of poetic art, expounded 
in " The Poetic Principle," to which he adhered con- 
sistently. Poetry he defines as " the rhythmical crea- 
tion of beauty"; its object is pleasure, not truth; 
" The Poetic music is its essential element, hence sound 
Principle" j^jg^y ]jq superior to sense, and didacticism 
is a " heresy." Since intense emotion cannot be long 
sustained, a long poem is a " contradiction in terms." 
An epic is not a true poem, at best only a " series of 
lyrics " woven together with uninteresting material. 
By the same reasoning, he maintained that prose 
romances should be short. These critical principles 
are valuable, but not fundamental, and indicate Poe's 
own unrecognized limitations. 

The reputation of Poe's poetry, based upon hardly 
more than a dozen lyrics, has advanced steadily since 
his death, in spite of hostile and contemptuous criti- 
cism. " The Eaven " has been called " the most popu- 
lar lyrical poem in the world." Certainly no other 



vii] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 319 

modern lyric has been so widely discussed and so fre- 
quently translated into other languages. Says Sted- 
man : " The melody of this strange poem is that of a 
vocal dead march and so compulsive with its peculiar 
measure, its refrain and repe tends, that in the end 
even the more critical yielded to its quaintness and 
fantasy, and accorded it a lasting place in his Lyrical 
literature." The marvelous vocal manipu- Power 
lation of words in the " Bells " is without a rival. 
This poem, as first published, was but eighteen lines 
long. With an insatiate desire for perfection, Poe 
repeatedly recast and refined his poetry, laboring upon 
a precious bit of art like a devoted lapidary. Prob- 
ably the most spontaneous lyrics are " Ulalume," and 
'^ Annabel Lee," in which is undoubtedly enshrined 
the memory of his beautiful wife. 

But our love it was stronger by far than the love 

Of those who were older than we, 

Of many far wiser than we ; 
And neither the angels in heaven above, 

Nor the demons down under the sea, 
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul 

Of the beautiful Annabel Lee. 

Many, with Emerson, may regard such verse as merely 
the work of a "jingle man," but no one with the true 
poetic sense can escape the fascination of such melody. 
Poe's power was lyrical only. Poetry was with him, 
he said, " not a purpose but a passion," and into these 
few scrupulously wrought lyrics he poured the very 



320 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

finest of his mystical aspirations. His highest endow- 
ment was like that of his own " Israfel " — 

Whose heartstrings are a lute. 

The prose romances stand unique and original in 
fiction, as do his lyrics in poetry. Their motives are 
beauty, mystery, and terror. In style they are as 
scrupulously artistic as the poems, remarkable espe- 
cially for the purity and refinement of language. 
Some, like " Ligeia," " Shadow," and " The Domain of 
Arnheim," are veritable prose poems. But the same 
masterly art is often employed upon themes that are 
The Prose repulsive, horrible, and blood-freezing. Poe 
Tales ^i times equals Hawthorne in the art of 

the short story, but he lacks the moral and spiritual 
qualities that enrich Hawthorne's tales. The human 
element is wanting, the broad and subtle sympathy 
with external life. " The New Englander had the pro- 
founder insight ; the Southerner's magic was that of 
the necromancer who resorts to spells and devices." 
There is also no humor, the nearest approach being 
the fantastic and grotesque. The finest stories, never- 
theless, the " Fall of the House of Usher," " Shadow," 
"The Gold Bug," and others, are accepted master- 
pieces that have served as models for all subsequent 
workers in fiction. " The Murders in the Rue Morgue," 
and others of the ingenious analytical tales are proto- 
types of the modern detective story. Poe was also 
a pioneer in the fiction of morbid psychology and 



vii] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 321 

pseudo-science. The man pursued by his double, in 
" William Wilson," suggests Stevenson's " Dr. Jekyll 
and Mr. Hyde," and a multitude of Vernesque stories 
have their common paternity in such tales as " Hans 
Pfaall " and " A Descent into the Maelstrom." 
• His best tales, says Myers, "show an intensity 
which perhaps no successor has reached ; not only in 
his conception of the play of weird passions in weird 
environments, but in a still darker mood of mind 
which must keep its grim attractiveness as long as 
the mystery of the universe shall press critical 
upon the lives of men." Woodberry says : Estimates 
" On the roll of our literature Poe's name is inscribed 
with the few foremost, and in the world at large his 
genius is established as valid among all men ; " and 
qualifyingly adds : " Being gifted with the dreaming 
instinct, the myth-making faculty, the allegorizing 
power, and with no other poetic element of high 
genius, he exercised his art in a region of vague 
feeling, symbolic ideas, and fantastic imagery, and 
wrought his spell largely through sensuous effects of 
color, sound, and gloom, heightened by lurking but 
unshaped suggestions of mysterious meanings. Now 
and then gleams of light and stretches of lovely land- 
scape shine out, but for the most part his mastery 
was over dismal, superstitious, and waste places." 

Class Study. — Poems : The Raven ; The Bells ; Ulalume ; 
Israfel ; To Helen ; The Haunted Palace ; Annabel Lee ; The 
City in the Sea ; To One in Paradise j The Sleeper. 

Y 



322 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Tales : The Gold Bug ; Fall of the House of Usher ; Shadow 
— A Parable. 

Reading and Discussion. — The Purloined Letter ; A Descent 
into the Maelstrom ; The Masque of the Red Death. 

Biography and Criticism. — Woodberry's " Edgar Allan Poe " 
(American Men of Letters). Stoddard's "Memoir of Poe" 
(Collected Works, 1884). Stedman and Woodberry's "Works 
of Edgar Allan Poe," 1894. Ingram's "Edgar Allan Poe, his' 
Life, Letters, and Opinions." Wilson's "Bryant and his 
Friends." Gill's " Life of Edgar Allan Poe." Griswold's 
"Biographical Sketch of Poe," 1850. Stedman's "Poets of 
America." Richardson's "American Literature." Andrew 
Lang's "Letters to Dead Authors." Higginson's "Short 
Studies of American Authors." Robertson's "New Essays 
toward a Critical Method." Lowell's "Fable for Critics." 
Gosse's " Questions at Issue." Wendell's " Literary History of 
America." Library of the World's Best Literature (F. W. 
H.Myers). Gates's " Studies and Appreciations." Matthews's 
"Pen and Ink." Willis's "Hurry-graphs." Fruit's "Mind 
and Art of Poe's Poetry." Forum, June, 1901. Atlantic^ 
Dec, 1899 (H. W. Mabie). William Winter's "Edgar Poe." 

Out of the despair and desolation of the Civil War 
there arose three Southern poets whose lives con- 
stitute the most pathetic story in our literature. 
They were alike endowed with distinct poetic gifts, 
filled with pure and lofty enthusiasm, and cruelly 
baffled in their fervid pursuit of poetry by calamitous 
misfortune. They served in the Confederate army, 
and at the end of the war entered upon a 

Three Poets 

of Misfor- severer struggle with poverty and mortal 

^"°® disease. The war had swept away their 

ancestral property, the exposures of army life, fol- 
lowed by extreme labor and penury had shattered 



vii] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 323 

their health, and the chances for a literary career 
were almost utterly hopeless. Yet with a soldier's 
heart and a poet's roseate hope each devoted the rem- 
nant of his broken life to art, and sang his songs 
cheerfully and sweetly, even while the angel of death 
was knocking at the door. The purity of their per- 
sonal characters and the nobility of their struggles 
endeared them to loving friends and hallowed forever 
their memories ; and their work, which is perhaps the 
promise more than the proof of genius, has steadily 
advanced in the esteem of the critics until the names 
of Timrod, Hayne, and Lanier are accorded a perma- 
nent place in the roll of standard American poets. 

HENRY TIMROD 

1830-1867 

Henry Timrod, "one of the very sweetest names 
connected with Charleston," said Lanier, was born in 
Charleston in 1830 and died in 1867. He was edu- 
cated at the LTniversity of Georgia, where a large part 
of his leisure, he said, " was occupied with the com- 
position of love verses, frantic or tender." He began 
the study of law, but soon exchanged his Blackstone 
for more poetic authors, and for about ten years was 
engaged in private tutoring. Meanwhile he was a 
member of the literary coterie of which Simms was 
the presiding genius, and with his friend Hayne 
aided in the ambitious project of EusseWs Magazme, 



324 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

which like every early Southern magazine perished 
in tender youth for want of appreciation. In 1860 a 
small volume of poems was published in Boston, which 
contained the promise of wide fame. But the war 
came and with heart aflame with loyalty to his state 
he sang the Tyrtsean strains of " Carolina " and " A 
Call to Arms," two of the best war lyrics of the South. 

Timrod went to the front as a war correspondent. 
In 1864 he became associate editor of the South 
Carolinian, at Columbia, and, believing his future to 
be secure, married the "Katie" memorialized in his 
poems. In less than a year came Sherman's army, cut- 
ting its terrible swath to the sea, and Timrod was left 
War and destitute. A f ew months later his idolized 

Poverty child died, and in the little grave " a large 

portion of the father's heart was buried," says Hayne. 
The two years more of life were a prolonged fight 
with disease and poverty. Gradually the remnants of 
furniture and the family plate went for food and rent. 
With a grim playfulness he wrote: '^ Let me see — 
yes, we have eaten two silver pitchers, one or two 
dozen silver forks, several sofas, innumerable chairs, 
and a huge — bedstead ! " And yet manfully he 
worked and wrote, with uncomplaining and generous 
spirit, to the sorrowful end. 

"Timrod's was probably the most finely endowed 
mind to be found in Carolina, or indeed in the whole 
South, at this period," says Professor Trent. "He 
has not left much work behind him, and that work is 



vii] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 325 

marred by the effects which constant sickness and 
poverty and the stress of war had upon his genius ; 
but he has left a few singularly beautiful poems, and 
one at least, the ode written for the occasion of the 
decoration of the Confederate graves in Magnolia 
Cemetery, that approximates perfection, — the per- 
fection of Collins." 

Class Study. — Spring ; The Cotton Boll ; The Unknown 
Dead ; Flower Life ; Too Long ; O Spirit of Storm ; The Lily- 
Confidante ; Ode, sung at the Decoration of Graves of Con- 
federate Dead. 

Biography and Criticism. — Hayne's Edition of Timrod's 
Poems, 187.3. Link's "Pioneers of Southern Literature." In- 
troduction to Memorial Edition, 1899. Outlook, May 11, 1901. 

Hayne's "Under the Pine," and " By the Grave of Henry 
Timrod." Austin's "Henry Timrod " {Independent, May 2, 
1901). 

PAUL HAMILTON HAYNE 

1830-1886 

Paul Hamilton Hayne, the " poet laureate of the 
South," was born in Charleston, in 1830. He was 
educated under the fostering care of his uncle, Robert 
Y. Hayne, the illustrious opponent of Webster. Pos- 
sessing an ample fortune, he was free to choose his 
career, and finding the law unsuited to his tastes, 
early gave himself to letters. From the a Youth 
little group that gathered at the literary o^ Promise 
dinners of Simms, he was selected for the editorship 
of RusseWs Magazine, which in the rose-colored hopes 



326 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

of these literary aspirants was to be the Black- 
iDood's of America. He was also busily writing for 
the Southern Literary Messenger, and other periodicals. 
Poetry was his destiny, and the resolution to follow in 
its course could not be shaken by dire calamity. 

Yet would I rather in the outward state 
Of song's immortal temple lay me down, 

A beggar basking by that radiant gate, 

Than bend beneath the haughtiest empire's crown. 

Before 1861 Hayne published three volumes of 
poems, which were well received by the critics and 
poets of the North. He lived in a beautiful home, 
with a large library, and with the social advantages 
of family prestige. The future was bright with the 
promise of a successful literary career. Moreover, he 
was married to the woman who, as Mrs. Preston says, 
" by her self-renunciation, her exquisite sympathy. 
Calamities ^^^ positive, material help, her bright 
of War hopefulness, made endurable the losses 

and trials that crowded Hayne's life." At the out- 
break of the war, like his fellow poets, filled with the 
passion of the hour, he poured his heart into impetu- 
ous lyrics like '^ My Mother Land " and " Beyond the 
Potomac." He also served in the field as long as his 
frail health permitted. But the bitter end of the war 
came, and Hayne found himself a ruined man, in a 
land of ruined homes and shattered hopes. 

No career now open to him could be more utterly 
hopeless than that of poet. He was without money 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 327 

and without health, and he could expect little aid or 
encouragement from the impoverished people to whom 
his poetry must be addressed. Undaunted, however, 
by the ills that beset him, and true to his early reso- 
lution, Hayne procured a few acres of land in the pine 
barrens of northern Georgia, built a little cottage of 
rough, un jointed boards, and there in the seclusion of 
the murmuring pines, " among the peaches, melons, 
and strawberries of his own raising, fought a Poet's 
the fight of life with uncomplaining brav- Hermitage 
ery and persisted in being happy." Says Maurice 
Thompson : " No beauty that money buys was there 
— for very little money ever crossed the threshold — 
but the invisible, imperishable beauty of sweet souls 
was there, informing everything. The place became 
a sort of Southern Mecca, to which loving folk made 
pilgrimages; and its name, 'Copse Hill,' grew familiar 
to all the world." 

Here Hayne worked until the end came, in 1886. 
In 1872 " Legends and Lyrics " appeared, and the 
next year his edition of Timrod's poems, with the 
tender biography of his lamented friend. In 1882 a 
complete collection of his poems was published in 
Boston, in which his merits were at last adequately 
presented. The poems written afterward are unfor- 
tunately still scattered in the magazines. 

The spirit of Hayne was brave, but gentle. He 
sang thrilling war songs, but sang more naturally the 
beauties of peace. His talent was lyrical, and his 



328 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

finest poems are those in which the lyric emotions are 
most spontaneous. His narrative verse, however, as 
in " Daphles," is not without distinctive merit. The 
sonnet was a favorite form with him, the difficulties 
Poetic of which he managed with ease, and often 

Qualities with marked success. His verse is grace- 
ful in finish, smooth, melodious, at times almost sen- 
suous in its music. Deprived of the broad associations 
of the world, exiled from the accumulated treasures 
of art, he turned with intense devotion to nature. 
The pine and the mocking-bird, with their character- 
istic Southern setting, are his special contributions to 
American poetry ; he is as true to his native soil as 
Whittier or Lowell. Filled with a fervid love for 

The balm and beauty of the lustrous South, 

in happy rhythmic phrasing, he converts the common 
things of wood and field to the uses of poetry : peach 
blooms that " blush and burn " as " with love's own tint 
on Spring's enamored face '' ; violets " touched by the 
vapory noontide's fleeting gold"; the azaleas, "blended 
blooms of fire"; the pine cone's "numberless, dim com- 
plexities " ; " white robed lilies," soft spirea, " woven 
of moonshine's misty bars," and the jonquil that "riots 
like some rude hoiden uncontrolled." 

With reverent spirit he leans his ear to nature — 

Attuned to every tiniest trill of sound, 

Whether by brook or bird 

The perfumed air be stirred. 
But most, because the unwearied strains are fraught 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 329 

With Nature's freedom in her happiest moods, 
I love the mock-bird's and brown thrush's lay, 
The melted soul of May. 

The melody itself of the mocking-bird's song he some- 
times catches for his verse : — 

We scarce can deem it a marvel. 

For the songs otir nightingale sings 
Throb warm and sweet with the rhythmic beat 

Of the fervors of countless springs. 
All beautiful measures of sky and earth 
Outpour in a second and rarer birth 
From that mellow throat. When the winds are whist. 
And he follows his mate to their sunset tryst, 
Where the wedded myrtles and jasmine twine. 
Oh ! the swell of his music is half divine ! 

There is an occasional suggestion of Wordsworth in 
Hayne's poetry — an echo rather than an influence, — 
and there is a frequent undertone of pathos. Even 
under the luminous skies that lighted up his pines, the 
shadows about his life could not be wholly dissipated. 
His pensive thought is often 

Far off, far off, within the shrouded heart 
Of immemorial hills. 

One is moved almost to tears by the heart-yearning 
expressed in " England " : — 

Land of my father's love, my father's race. 
How long must I in weary exile sigh 

To meet thee, my Empress, face to face, 
To kiss thy radiant robes before I die ? 

But he is only lured by a " lustrous dream " — 

England ! I shall not see thee ere I die. 



330 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Class Study. — Aspects of the Pines ; Lyric of Action ; The 
First Mocking-bird in Spring ; Windless Rain ; The Voice in 
the Pines; To a Bee; Love's Autumn; England. Sonnets: 
Earth's Odors after Rain ; October ; The Hyacinth ; Japonicas. 

Class Reading. — The Mocking-bird at Night ; Daphles ; 
The Little White Glove ; The Stricken South to the North ; 
The Battle of King's Mountain ; Above the Storm ; Thunder 
at Midnight ; A Summer Mood ; Unveiled ; Ode to Sleep. 

Biography and Criticism. — Margaret J. Preston's Sketch in 
edition of 1882. Link's "Pioneers of Southern Literature." 
Lanier's " Music and Poetry." LippincoWs Magazine, Sep- 
tember, 1890, and December, 1892. 

Philip Bourke Marston's " To Paul Hamilton Hayne." Wil- 
liam Hamilton Hayne's "At My Father's Grave." 



SIDNEY LANIER 
1842-1881 

Of the little band of Southern poets, after Poe, the 
one whose work has most strongly impressed itself 
upon the critical consciousness of the period is Sidney 
Lanier, whose poems are rated by a good critic as 
" the rarest, product of English or American literature 
during the last quarter of a century," and who in per- 
sonal character was so pure, refined, and chivalrous, 
and in the pursuit of his ideals was so noble and de- 
voted, as to be called '^the Sir Galahad among 
American poets." 

Lanier was born in Georgia in 1842. His earliest 
passion was for music, an inheritance from a long line 
of musical ancestors extending back to the court of 
Elizabeth. Even before he could write legibly he 



rii] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 331 

learned to play the flute, organ, piano, guitar, and 
banjo, devoting himself especially to the flute, in def- 
erence to his father's wishes, who " feared for him the 
powerful fascination of the violin." So strong was 
the appeal of violin tones to his sensitive nature that 
from a state of exalted rapture he would sometimes 
sink into a deep trance, from which he would awake 
"sorely shaken in mind." He graduated passion for 
from Oglethorpe College at eighteen with ^^u^^^^f^^^^ 
the highest honors, and held a tutorship in 
the college until the outbreak of the war. Answering 
the first call to arms, he entered the Confederate army 
and served until 1864, three times refusing promotion 
because he would not be separated from his younger 
brother. While in command of a blockade runner, he 
was captured by the Federal forces and imprisoned at 
Point Lookout, carrying to prison his beloved flute con- 
cealed in his sleeve. In camp he studied French and 
German with as much diligence as military duty 
would permit; Heine's poems, Hugo's "Les Misera- 
bles," and his flute were his consolation. Though loyal 
to the cause for which he fought, the unhallowed and 
hideous character of war, as a means of righting wrongs, 
became more and more impressed upon his refined spirit. 
His experiences and impressions during the war were 
embodied in the novel " Tiger Lilies," published in 1867, 
a book full of exuberant thought and luxuriant descrip- 
tion, in unshaded coloring appropriately symbolized by 
the title flower, yet revealing plainly the poet soul. 



332 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

After an imprisonment of five months he was re- 
leased, in February, 1865, and with mucli suffering 
made his way on foot to the distant home in Georgia. 
A severe illness followed, and the seeds of pulmonary 
disease were developed, with which he battled thence- 
forth to the end. He must needs earn money, and so 
worked as clerk in a hotel, taught in a country acad- 
emy, then studied and practiced law with his father. 
From War But all this was against the bent of his de- 
toArt sires. Two passions ruled his life, music 

and poetry. In 1873, "taking his flute and pen for 
sword and staff," he went North, and at Baltimore ob- 
tained an engagement as first flute in the Peabody 
Orchestra. Here he now settled with his family and 
began the pathetic twofold struggle for literature and 
for life in which his remaining years were spent. His 
father deprecated this hazardous attempt to live by 
art, but to his protest he answered, reminding him how 
through long years of poverty, war, sickness, and other 
discouragements the two figures of music and poetry 
had steadily remained in his heart : " Does it not seem 
to you, as to me, that I begin to have the right to en- 
roll myself among the devotees of these two sublime 
arts, after having followed them so long and so hum- 
bly, and through so much bitterness ? " 

Lanier was now in a congenial atmosphere of books, 
culture, and scholarship, a paradise of delights and 
opportunities for which his soul had himgered and 
thirsted. He plunged ardently into thorough courses 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 333 

of study, mastering Anglo-Saxon and Early English, 
and reading extensively in modern literature, all to per- 
fect himself in the knowledge and art of poetry. He 
labored for an enrichment of mind adequate to sustain 
the imagination in its loftiest flights. Of Poe he once 
remarked with some truth, " He did not know enough." 

The music of his flute was a marvelous „ 

The struggle 

natural gift; poetry he studied with the for Art and 
laborious enthusiasm of a scientist. But ^ ^ 
meanwhile his family must have bread, so he wrote 
lectures and boys' books and magazine articles, " when," 
as he said, " a thousand songs are singing in my heart, 
that will certainly kill me if I do not utter them soon." 
Moreover, work was frequently stopped for months at 
a time by harrowing illness. " He was driven to Texas, 
to Florida, to Pennsylvania, to North Carolina, to try 
to recover health from pine breaths and clover blos- 
soms." In 1879 he was appointed to a lectureship 
on English Literature in Johns Hopkins University, 
which he held until his death in 1881, presenting his 
final lectures when he could hardly command breath 
enough to make his words audible. Battled at every 
step toward the goal of his great desires, and beaten 
back into the pathway of suffering and death, he yet 
maintained to the last a sweet, uncomplaining Chris- 
tian spirit. Between the lines of his cheerful commu- 
nications, however, Hayne thought he could "detect 
the slow, half-muffled throb of heartbreak there." 
The circumstances of his life form indeed "a pa- 



334 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

thetically tragic setting to his pure-souled, beautiful 
work." 

In 1875 the poem "Corn" appeared in LippincoU's 
Magazine, announcing widely the fact that a star of 
the first magnitude had arisen in poetry. Bayard 
Taylor hailed it as " the first new voice of song which 
the South has blown to us over the ashes of battle/' 
Work in Verse ^^^^ added, "The whole poem throbs with 
and Prose sunshine, and is musical with the murmurs 
of growing things." Through Taylor's kind ofiices 
Lanier was invited to write the "Cantata" for the 
opening of the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. 
For a railroad company he wrote " Florida," a " kind 
of spiritualized guide-book," he called it. In 1877 he 
published a small volume of poems, the only collec- 
tion made during his lifetime. The "Boy's Frois- 
sart," " Boy's King Arthur," " Boy's Mabinogion," 
and "Boy's Percy" were editions of the old English 
classics prepared for young people. His chief work 
in prose is " The English Novel and the Principles of 
its Development," containing much wise and luminous 
criticism of modern literature, and "The Science of 
English Verse," in which the poet expounds his 
original and peculiar theory of versification. 

Lanier sought to establish the complete correlation 
of music and poetry. He wished to give greater 
The Science freedom to poetic expression by substitut- 
of Poetry ^j-^g f qj, ^]^g usual metrical rules the rhyth- 
mical notation of music. The appeal is to the ear 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 335 

through harmony and melody. Rhythm is determined, 
not by accents or number of syllables, but by the time 
element alone. Eichness and variety of " tone-color" 
are to be secured by rhyme, alliteration, and the 
distribution and repetition of euphonious vowels and 
consonants. In short, symphonic effects are to be 
obtained in verse as in orchestration. The obvious 
criticism upon this theory is that the element of 
rhythm in poetry is magnified to undue importance, 
too studious attention to sound resulting often in a 
sacrifice of sense and clearness. The two master- 
pieces, "Sunrise" and "Marshes of Glynn," go far 
toward vindicating his theory. But Lanier was too 
genuine a poet to rest in theory or rules, and he 
concludes his unique analytical treatise with the 
broad principle, " For the artist in verse there is no 
law ; the perception and love of beauty constitute the 
whole outfit." Although to be regarded as suggestive 
rather than authoritative and final, the " Science of 
Eno-lish Verse " is the most valuable contribution to 
the subject of verse structure yet produced. 

Only the latest of Lanier's poems were written under 
the influence of his perfected principles, and these 
contain golden promises of what he would have 
achieved had he lived to give wider expression to his 
teeming imagination. For onomatopoetic rhythm his 
" Song of the Chattahoochee " deserves to be read with 
Tennyson's " Brook " : — 



336 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Out of the hills of Habersham, 

Down the valleys of Hall, 
I hurry amain to reach the plain, 
Run the rapid and leap the fall, 
Split at the rock and together again, 
Accept my bed, or narrow or wide, 
And flee from folly on every side. 
With a lover's pain to attain the plain 

Ear from the hills of Habersham, 

Ear from the valleys of Hall. 

He was a passionate lover of nature, ''a pantheist 
who felt God in everything." The outward world 
responded to his fancy with a consecrated, as well as 
a melodious voice. Like Keats's "Beauty is truth, 
truth beauty," he coined for himself a favorite phrase, 
" The beauty of holiness, and the holiness of beauty." 
His far-reaching rhythms are reverberant with sacred 
melody : — 
Ye marshes, how candid and simple and nothing-withholding 

and free 
Ye publish yourselves to the sky and offer yourselves to the sea! 
Tolerant plains, that suffer the sea and the rains and the sun. 
Ye spread and span like the Catholic man who hath mightily won 
God out of knowledge and good out of infinite pain. 
And sight out of blindness and purity out of a stain. 
As the marsh-hen secretly builds on the watery sod, 
Behold I will build me a nest on the greatness of God : 
I will fly in the greatness of God as the marsh-hen flies 
In the freedom that fills all the space 'twixt the marsh and the 

skies : 
By so many roots as the marsh-grass sends in the sod 
I will heartily lay me a-hold on the greatness of God : 
Oh, like to the greatness of God is the greatness within 
The range of the marshes, the liberal marshes of Glynn. 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 337 

The poem " Sunrise " was the poet's swan song, poured 
forth with his last breath. Its wealth of outdoor obser- 
vation not only makes "Thoreau seem thin and arid," 
says Higginson, but combined with this is "a roll and 
range of rhythm such as Lowell's ' Commemoration 
Ode ' cannot equal, and only some of Browning's early 
ocean cadences surpass." This and the "Marshes of 
Glynn" are, says Eichard Burton, "magnificent organ 
chants of a dying man, never so strong of soul as when 
his body hung by a tenuous thread to life." 

The work of Lanier, says Burton, "has the glow 
and color of the South — an exuberance of imagina- 
tion and a rhythmic sweep which awaken a kind of 
exultant delight in the sensitive reader. T^e value of 
A consummate artist, Lanier showed him- ^^® "^^^"^ 
self a pioneer in the handling of words, and meters; 
his richness of rhythms and alliterations, his marvel- 
ous feeling for tone color, fellow him with an English 
poet like Swinburne. He opened new possibilities of 
metrical and stanzaic arrangements, and therewith 
revealed new powers of word-use and combination 
in English poetry, drawing on the treasures of the 
older word-hoard which his study, taste, and instinct 
suggested. He certainly broadened in this way the 
technic of verse, and on this side of his art was truly 
remarkable." 

Class Study. — Sunrise ; Marshes of Glynn ; Song of the 
Chattahoochee ; Tampa Robins ; Corn ; My Springs ; The Bee ; 
The Stirrup Cup. 



338 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Class Reading. — The Mocking-Bird ; The Revenge of Ha- 
mish ; A Song of Love ; A Song of the Future ; The Symphony. 

Biography and Criticism. — William Hayes Ward's " Memo- 
rial " ('Toems of Sidney Lanier"). BaskervilPs "Sidney 
Lanier" ("Southern Writers"). Bayard Taylor's "Essays 
and Notes." Higginson's "Contemporaries." Library of 
the World's Best Literature (Richard Burton). Callavi^ay's 
"Select Poems of Sidney Lanier." Presbyterian Beview, 
October, 1887 (Merrill E. Gates). Living Age, May 14 and 
21, 1898 (Mme. Blanc). Wendell's "Literary History of 
America." 

Paul Hamilton Hayne's "The Pale of Death." Barbe's 
' ' Sidney Lanier " ( " Ashes and Incense " ) . William Hamilton 
Hayne's "Sidney Lanier." 



THE STORY-TELLERS 

In 1885, in a statement of what lie thought to be 
" the promise of the South," Stedman wrote : " The 
strongly dramatic fiction of Cable, Miss Murfree, Page, 
Johnston, and others, clearly betokens the revived 
imagination of a glowing clime. The great heart of 
the generous and lonely South, too long restrained, — 
of the South once so prodigal of romance, eloquence, 
gallant aspiration, — once more has found expression." 
The promise of this literary movement, which began 
Southern about 1870, and has now spread through- 
Novelists ^^^ ^Yie South, has been richly fulfilled. 
Add to the list given by Stedman the names of Harris 
and Allen and we have a group of writers represent- 
ing the finest story-telling of our times. In freshness, 
originality, truth, dramatic force, and artistic finish 



vii] LITERATURE IN THEJ SOUTH 339 

their work stands with the best products of con- 
temporary novelists. They are especially masters 
of the short story, a field in which American authors 
have achieved an artistic success that is rivaled only 
by that of the French. Each member of this group, 
while strictly and broadly representative of his sec- 
tion, has selected a limited field or particular phase 
of Southern life and described it with loving fidelity. 
Cable opened to the view of the world the quaint old 
Creole quarter of New Orleans, Harris discovered the 
fascinating folklore of the negro. Page pictured the 
oldtime relations of slave and master in Virginia, 
Johnston described with a delightfully humorous pen 
the "cracker" life of middle Georgia, Miss Murfree 
led her readers into the remote wilds of the Tennessee 
mountains, and Allen found romance and poetry in 
the " blue-grass region " of Kentucky. 

George Washington Cable was born in New Orleans 
in 1844. Owing to financial misfortunes of the family 
he was early forced into a practical money-getting 
life, and thus prevented from obtaining a 
systematic education. He served in the Washington 
Confederate army, and still bears the evi- ^^^^^'^^44- 
dences of heroic soldiership. After the war he passed 
through a varied experience as clerk, surveyor, and 
newspaper reporter. In the brief intervals of leisure 
snatched from the duties of a cotton broker's office he 
began writing and sending to Scribnei'^s Monthly the 
short stories of Creole life that established his fame. 



340 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

They appeared in book form in 1879. This volume 
was followed by "The Grandissimes," his most elab- 
orate and powerful novel, " Madame Delphine," " Dr. 
Sevier," and the idyllic " Bonaventure." He has writ- 
ten other books, but none that can be compared with 
these in literary value. 

Without the usual advantages of early education, 
without literary associations, almost without books, 
by the mere push of inherent literary power. Cable 
fashioned for himself a method and a style 
unsurpassed for grace and delicacy of finish 
in the prose of modern fiction. His English is pure, 
simple, smooth, almost poetical in its refinement, 
alive and throbbing with passion, and pleasingly 
interwoven with the melodious dialect of the Creole. 
With the conscience of a historian and the eye of a 
poet, he presents the scenes and characters with which 
his own life was intimately associated ; he paints the 
reality of a quaint and picturesque life with the 
fascinating tints of ideal coloring. 

Vital and strong as are "The Grandissimes " and 
" Dr. Sevier," Cable's masterpieces are the delicately 
artistic short tales of the type with which he began in 
"Old Creole Days." To this book still clings some- 
what of that sense of delighted surprise with which 
Classic Short ^he tales were first read. " They were fresh, 
stories f^ll Qf color and poetic feeling, romantic 

with the romance of the life they portrayed, redolent 
of indigenous perfumes — magnolia, lemon, orange, 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 341 

and myrtle, mingled with French exotics from the 
boudoir — interpretative in these qualities, through a 
fine perception, of a social condition resulting from the 
transplanting to semi-tropical soil of a conservative, 
wealthy, and aristocratic French community. Herein 
lay much of their most inviting charm ; but more than 
this, they were racy with twinkling humor, tender 
with a melting pathos, and intensely dramatic." 

" ' Uncle Remus ' is one of the few creations of 
American writers," says Professor Baskervill, 
"worthy of a place in the gallery of the immortals." 
The creator of "Uncle Remus," Joel joei chandler 
Chandler Harris, was born in Georgia in Harris, 1848- 
1848. An account of his early life is given in his 
book "On the Plantation." He spent several years 
in the family of a wealthy planter, who possessed a 
large library and a private printing-press. Here 
young Harris learned printing, read extensively, and 
hunted possums and rabbits with the negroes. Sym- 
pathy is his finest gift ; from his earliest years he has 
had a strange sympathy with animals of all kinds; 
moreover, above all things, he tells us, he loves a 
story and "human nature, humble, fascinating, plain, 
common human nature." It was through this extraor- 
dinary gift of sympathy that he was enabled, while 
on the plantation, to penetrate to the most intimate 
secrets of negro life and character, and gather the rich 
store of myth, story, humor, and wisdom with which he 
has surprised, entertained, and instructed the world. 



342 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Sherman's army swept over the Turner plantation 
and Harris's bucolic days were ended. The strenuous 
work of reconstruction called him, and he entered 
actively into the reviving journalism of the South, 
finally becoming associated with the Atlanta Consti- 
tution, through which his fame as a writer of negro 
' ' Uncle dialect was first made. " Uncle Remus " 

Remus ' ' began his career of popular favor in 1880, 
and since then his " sayings " have been household 
words, and "Brer Rabbit" and "Brer Eox" have 
been included among the best-known characters of 
fiction. Other volumes followed, wrought from the 
same delightful material, some of them extending, 
however, into the broader field of representative 
Southern life, as " Nights with Uncle E-emus," 
"Mingo," "Free Joe," "Daddy Jake," and "Balaam 
and his Master." 

The " Uncle Bemus " stories were an original reve- 
lation and a contribution of the highest value to 
folklore as well as to literature. Harris found the 
negro living in an unsuspected world of poetry, and 
this world he has presented to us with its wealth of 
quaint story-telling, darky dialect, wit, humor, phi- 
losophy and " unadulterated human nature." Thomas 
Th Inter r ^^Ison Page gcnerously declares that " no 

ter of Negro one who has ever written has known one 
Life 

tenth part about the negro that Mr. Harris 

knows." He pictures with perfect accuracy the life 

of the old plantation days, giving the light and dark 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 343 

side of slavery, — its comedy and its tragedy, its 
happiness and its misery, — and proves himself to be 
the negro's perfect interpreter to the world. ''Like 
all genuine humorists," says Professor Baskervill, 
'' Mr. Harris has his wit always seasoned with love, 
and a moral purpose underlies all his writings. In 
the twelve volumes or more which he has published, 
he has preserved traditions and legends, photographed 
a civilization, perpetuated types, created one character. 
Humor and sympathy are his chief qualities, and in 
everything he is simple and natural." 

Mary Noailles Murfree ("Charles Egbert Crad- 
dock"), who was born in 1850, near Murfreesboro, 
Tenn., has reclaimed in a remarkable manner an un- 
couth section of American civilization for the refined 
uses of literature. During her early life she spent 
fifteen successive summers in the moun- ^ 
tains of eastern Tennessee, and through a Noaiiies Mur- 
keen eye and a sympathetic heart obtained 
a masterly familiarity with the unique life of the rude 
mountaineers. The wild features of mountain peak 
and rocky ravine, the rough qualities of a lawless, 
whisky-distilling, strangely religious population, she 
reproduces with masculine strength and boldness. 
She possesses also a dramatic power adequate for the 
presentation of a society in which life and death are 
often determined by the swift law of private revenge 
and bar-room justice. Natural scenery she paints with 
a skillful touch that shows the teaching of Euskin, 



344 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

describing with a richness of coloring that becomes 
at times excessive, and in the primitive mountain 
homes she discovers charming springs of humor, 
pathos, and romance. 

" I 'member when I war a gal," says old Mis' Cayce, 
"whisky war so cheap that up to the store at the 
settlemint they'd hev a bucket set full o' whisky an' a 
gourd, free fur all comers, an' another bucket along- 
side with water ter season it. An' the way that thar 
water lasted war surprisin' ; that it war ! " Such is 
the region Miss Murfree has made her own. The 
sensation in America produced by discovering the 
Character- author of " A-Playin' of Old Sledge at 
isticwork h^q Settlemint" to be a woman was much 
like that which attended the disclosure of the identity 
of George Eliot. Her first successful books were " In 
the Tennessee Mountains," 1884, a collection of short 
stories ; " Down the Ravine " ; " The Prophet of the 
Great Smoky- Mountains," and "In the Clouds." 
These have been followed by many others in rapid 
succession, so rapid as to reveal the common frailty 
of popular novelists, over-production with consequent 
deterioration in quality. In " Where the Battle was 
Fought," she departs from her familiar scenes to 
describe the desolation left by the Civil War around 
her early home. 

Thomas Nelson Page, born in 1853, educated at the 
University of Virginia, and engaged for a time with 
the law, committed himself irrevocably to literature in 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 345 

1883 with a little volume of dialect poems, " Bef o' de 

War." His success as a story writer was made the 

next year with "Marse Chan," the most „^ 

•^ Thomas 

graceful and touching story of the war yet Nelson Page, 
written. This story, "Unc' Edinburg's '^"" 
Drowndin," "Meh Lady," and others collected in the 
volume, " In Ole Virginia," are masterpieces of humor 
and pathos, and in some respects quite as original in 
their portrayal of negro character as " Uncle Eemus." 
He is not less happy in describing the " poor white " 
class, and ^'Elsket," '^Red Rock," and other recent 
books give promise of excellence in a wider field. 

The love of nature and a free, open-air life, tempered 
with sunshine and the repose of broad landscapes, came 
to James Lane Allen as an inheritance from three 
generations of paternal ancestors, who were james Lane 
easy-going, gentleman farmers in the blue- ■^^^®°' ^^5°- 
grass region of Kentucky. In this land of stately 
homes, fine flocks and herds, fragrant clover meadows, 
and golden wheat fields, Allen was born in 1850, and 
out of his minute knowledge of its pastoral beauty and 
social characteristics he has produced the charmingly 
delicate and artistic sketches and stories, "The Blue 
Grass Region of Kentucky," " A Kentucky Cardinal," 
" Aftermath," " The Choir Invisible," and " The Reign 
of Law." Two stories, " The White Cowl " and '' Sister 
Dolorosa," present with studied truthfulness the medi- 
aeval spirit of the Trappist Monastery and the Convent 
of Loretto. His special literary features are a devoted 



346 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

attention to local history and color, realism permeated 
with poetry, a quiet, reflective temperament that pre- 
fers a mood or spiritual problem to plot and action. 
By grace, purity, and refinement he charms the reader 
and entices his thought out of the commonplace to 
things higher and more beautiful. 

Class Reading. — Cable's "Old Creole Days" and " Bona- 
venture." Harris's "Uncle Remus" and "Free Joe." Miss 
Murfree's "In the Tennessee Mountains " and "The Prophet 
of the Great Smoky Mountains." Page's "In Ole Virginia." 
Allen's "A Kentucky Cardinal." 

Biography and Criticism. — Baskervill's " Southern Writers." 
Vedder's "American Writers of To-day." Richardson's 
"American Literature," Vol II, ch. 12. LippincoW s Maga- 
zi7ie, December, 1891. 

Richard Malcolm Johnston (1822-1898) contributed much to 
our knowledge of Southern types as well as to our literary delight 
in his " Dukesborough Tales," "Old Mark Langston," " Ogeechee 
Cross-Firings," and other volumes of humorous tales descriptive 
of Georgia life. Among the first to appreciate the literary pos- 
sibilities of the negro character was Irwin Russell (1853-1879), 
whose little volume of "Poems" is the only memorial of a life 

of brilliant promise and unhappy end. Many 
ith s " t^^ minor poets of the South will be remembered for 

single famous lyrics, such as James R. Randall's 
"Maryland, My Maryland" ; Theodore O'Hara's "Bivouac of 
the Dead" ; Father Ryan's "The Conquered Banner " ; Albert 
Pike's "Dixie"; and Frank 0. Ticknor's " Virginians of the 
Valley." This last writer, almost unknown, was pronounced 
by Hayne to be " one of the truest and sweetest lyric poets this 
country has yet produced." Maurice Thompson (1844-1901), 
poet, essayist, naturalist, and novelist, was true to his Southern 
heritage, as shown by the atmosphere and local color of his 



VII] LITERATURE IN THE SOUTH 347 

" Songs of Fair Weather," " By-ways and Bird Notes," " Sylvan 
Secrets," and other inspiring books. His last and most popular 
book, " Alice of Old Vincennes," is a stirring tale of the Revo- 
lutionary period. It is a significant fact that women were the 
first to recognize the literary opportunity of the South. The 
success of "Christian Reid" (Frances C. Tiernan), author of 
" The Land of the Sky," was an encouragement to many others. 
"The first work to utilize the romantic materials of the war 
without gross partisanry," says Page, was "Sunnybank," by 
"Marion Harland " (Mrs. M. V. Terhune), (1835- ) who 
has since produced a long list of popular books. Margaret J. 
Preston's (1825-1897) "Beechenbrook" and other poems contahi 
many strains that are cherished for their elegiac beauty and 
tenderness. Grace King (1859- ), author of "Monsieur 
Motte" and "Balcony Stories," follows modestly and success- 
fully in the footsteps of Cable with her strong pictures of Creole 
life in New Orleans. Amelie Rives (Princess Troubetskoy) 
(1863- ) has shown remarkable literary possibilities in "A 
Brother to Dragons," " Herod and Mariamne," and other fiction 
and verse. The perfervid passion, dramatic directness, and 
staccato audacity of expression in her stories won for a time a 
wide and sensational popularity. 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 

Wilson's " Division and Reunion " (Epochs of American His- 
tory). Burgess's "Civil War and Reconstruction." Thomas 
Nelson Page's "The Old South." Link's "Pioneers of South- 
ern Literature." Lanier's " Retrospects and Prospects " (" The 
New South"). Wendell's "Literary History of America." 
Manly's "Southern Literature." Warner's "Studies in the 
South and West." White's " Robert E, Lee and the Southern 
Confederacy." Trent's "Robert E. Lee" (Beacon Biogra- 
phies). Miss Woolson's "Rodman the Keeper." Wise's "End 
of an Era." 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE HISTORIANS 

It is a common mistake to assume that historical 
writing is devoid of literary interest, and that there- 
fore in a record of the literary expression of a nation 
it is to be subordinated, or altogether ignored. His- 
tory is a part of literature when it possesses the dis- 
tinction of style. Macaulay wrote with rhetorical 
brilliancy and Carlyle with dramatic intensity, and 
the work of each lives by virtue of an 

Literary -^ 

Quality of individual saliency of style; others have 

possessed themselves of the same facts, 
but have failed to make living history because they 
lacked the illuminating power of the imagination and 
the artistic sense of literary form. To scientific accu- 
racy in the collection and collocation of facts must 
be added the graces and amenities of art, in order 
to secure for a historical work the permanency of a 
classic. The great mass of historical writing is 
merely history in the rough, material that needs 
the final touch of genius to convert it into real 
history. 

America is fortunate in the possession of historians 
of the first rank, and it is significant that each one of 

348 



CHAP. VIII] THE HISTORIANS 349 

the leaders of our historical school began his career 
under the influence of distinctly literary predilections. 
Bancroft first appeared before the public with a vol- 
ume of poems; the first books of Motley ^^^^^^^ 
and Hildreth were novels ; among Park- American 
man's first publications was a novel, and ^^ °^ 
his early ambition was to write poetry ; and Prescott's 
original inclination was toward pure literature. While 
thoroughly imbued with the spirit of scientific re- 
search, these men had the superior sense, so often 
wanting in the scientific consciousness, to recognize 
the necessity of the imaginative and artistic elements 
in any written product that is to secure a broad 
and permanent interest; hence three, at least, of 
these historians produced narratives that combine a 
painstaking devotion to fact with the vivid coloring of 
fiction. Such histories as Prescott's "Conquest of 
Mexico " and Motley's " Eise of the Dutch Republic " 
are emphatically literary classics. 

The historical product of the colonial period was 
naturally crude in form and largely local, personal, 
or ecclesiastical in origin. Strong-souled leaders of the 
early colonists, like Bradford and Winthrop, with a 
prophetic confidence in the high destiny of g. ^ . 
their doings, wrote out as best they could. Colonial 
in the midst of their conquest of the wilder- 
ness, the records of their struggles in the form of 
"diaries" or "journals." But these quaint and 
homely narratives, possessing a peculiar interest and 



350 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

value in the fact of their personal character, have 
furnished rich materials for the systematic historian. 
No nation is so fortunate as America in the fullness 
of the records of its beginnings. As colonial isolation 
disappeared and the dawn of a new nation began to 
rise from the chaos of the Revolution, writers at- 
tempted to present a more comprehensive view of 
American achievements, or, impelled by local pride, 
chronicled the part played by particular colonies in 
the foundation-building of the nation. 

Thomas Hutchinson, the last colonial governor of 
Massachusetts, a loyal New Englander by birth and 
lifelong interest, though a Eoyalist in political con- 
victions, wrote with laborious zeal his " History of the 
Province of Massachusetts Bay," which Richardson 
regards as a " praiseworthy production, even from a 
literary point of view." Hannah Adams, the first 
professional literary woman in America, wrote a 
"History of New England," and a broader and more 
Early interesting work was produced by Abiel 

Historians Holmes, father of Oliver Wendell Holmes, 
in his "American Annals, or Chronological History 
of America from its Discovery in MCCCCXCII to 
MDCCCVI." Jeremy Belknap's accurate and enter- 
taining " History of New Hampshire " (1784) led 
Bryant to say that its author was " the first to make 
American history attractive " ; and with similar patri- 
otic pride David Ramsay was writing in the remote 
South his " History of the American Revolution " 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 351 

(1780), the " History of Soutli Carolina," and a " Life 
of Washington," works that embodied the results of 
a wide personal acquaintance with the leading men 
and events of the period. 

The new sense of union and nationality that fol- 
lowed the final settlement of war and the establishing 
of the constitution, and the rapid expansion of the 
nation in territory and population, were influences 
strongly affecting the nascent genius of the time. All 
literature felt the impulse of the new national life. 
Scholars were now attracted into the field 
of national history, as its scope became ningof 
enlarged with the increasing significance National 

^ & » History 

of the past and the alluring promises of 
the future of the young republic. Early in the cen- 
tury Bancroft chose his life work, and entered with 
patriotic enthusiasm upon his extensive researches for 
the " History of the United States " ; and soon also his 
distinguished competitors were selecting great Ameri- 
can themes, or themes closely related to America. 
An American school of historians arose, the founder 
of which was Jared Sparks. 

The appointment of Sparks in 1839 to a professor- 
ship of " Ancient and Modern History " in Harvard 
College " marks the dawn of a new era in American 
scholarship. It was not only the first recognition of 
historical science by an American college as worthy 
of a distinct professional chair, but, in view of the 
well-known pursuits of the appointee, it was also the 



352 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

first academic encouragement of American history and 
of original historical research in the American field." ^ 
jared Sparks, Sparks was graduated from Harvard in 
1789-1866 1815, became a Unitarian minister, and 
preached for a time in Baltimore, edited the North 
American Review for seven years from 1824, was pro- 
fessor of history at Harvard from 1839 to 1849, and 
then was made president of the college. In 1832 he 
published the " Life of Gouverneur Morris," and soon 
after began to appear the first of his great undertak- 
ings, the " Life and Writings of George Washington," 
in which he illustrated historical methods hitherto 
quite unknown in America. He made extensive 
searches for materials, secured the use of private 
family papers, examined public records, visited 
Europe, and copied valuable documents in the ar- 
chives of England and France. The result was, for 
the time, a worthy tribute to the greatest Ameri- 
can. With the same painstaking zeal he edited the 
" Works of Benjamin Franklin, with a Life of the 
Author," and the extensive '^ Library of American 
Biography," the precursor of modern collections like 
the "American Statesmen" and "American Men of 
Letters." 

The true literary gift and a well-ordered critical 
judgment were denied to Sparks, and his own com- 
position, therefore, is the least valuable part of his 

1 Herbert Adams's " Life and Writings of Jared Sparks," Vol. II, 
p. 369. 



VIII] THE HISTORIANS 353 

works ; but as an enthusiastic collector and editor he 
rendered an inestimable service. After his example 
of industry the materials for American value of 
history were secure and a proper method ^isWork 
of dealing with them was insured. His work, says 
his biographer, was that of " a pathfinder in the vast 
wilderness of American history. He first opened 
roads along which modern students are now easily 
and swiftly j)assing, too often without a grateful 
thought for the original explorer." 

With a few notable exceptions, especially the monu- 
mental work of Gibbon in England, history was for- 
merly written with a careless regard for facts and with 
no adequate or systematic examination of the original 
sources. Writers aimed to make their narratives 
interesting by depicting the romantic and heroic 
elements of history, the deeds of kings and con- 
querors, the pomp and pageantry of courts, and the 
bloody horrors of battlefields. This has been well 
called the " drum and trumpet " style of history. 
Little attention was given to the true ethical sig- 
nificance of events, to the analysis of character, to the 
operation of cause and effect, or to the background of 
great events found in the life of the common people. 

A new historical method, evolved under , „ 

' A New 

the combined influence of science and de- Historical 
mocracy, has changed all this. The modern 
historian aims at breadth and accuracy of details, at 
the collocation and logical interpretation of vast aggre> 
2a 



354 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

gations of facts, gathered, often, at the cost of prodig- 
ious personal labor ; he makes the life of a common 
laborer as conspicuous as that of a lord, and cele- 
brates the achievements of peace as zealously as those 
of war, presenting all phases of national life and 
character with impartial completeness. An excel- 
lent example of the new type of history is Green's 
"History of the English People," the title of which 
indicates the change of purpose and method. It is 
particularly creditable to American scholarship and 
letters that our first and greatest historians, Ban- 
croft, Prescott, Motley, and Parkman, while illustrat- 
ing some of the qualities of the heroic type of history, 
from the beginning worked essentially in the spirit 
of the modern scientific method. 

GEORGE BANCROFT 

1800-1891 

Although Jared Sparks is deservedly regarded as 
the founder of our historical school, it was George 
Bancroft who made the first contribution to the bril- 
liant series of historical compositions now accepted as 
our standard masterpieces. Bancroft was one of thir- 
teen children, whose father, the Eev. Aaron Bancroft, 
fought at Lexington and Bunker Hill, and wrote a 
"Life of Washington" that was not an unworthy 
rival of the more famous biogmphy by Marshall. The 
son George graduated from Harvard at seventeen, by 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 355 

request of the college continued his studies at Got- 
tingen, and was one of the earliest in America to obtain 
a German university degree. While abroad he profited 
by the exx^erience, then rare to an Ameri- g^y^^^j^^ . 
can, of meeting the great men of Europe, Teaching; 
as Goethe, the Humboldts, Cousin, Lord °® ^ 
Byron, Bunsen, and Niebuhr. After a year spent at 
Harvard as tutor in Greek, he joined with J. G. Cogs- 
well in founding the famous "•Round Hill" school 
for boys at Northampton. In the same year, 1823, 
he published a thin volume of "Poems," nearly all 
European in theme, and reflecting the influence of 
continental travel and of the reigning poets of the 
period. 

Before he abandoned the experiment at Round Hill, 
Bancroft had begun his life task. In 1834 the first 
volume of the "History of the United States" ap- 
peared, and during a period of fifty years the labor 
upon this work was continued, the final revised edition 
appearing in 1884. Seldom has so long a life of 
scholarly industry been given to a single task like this. 

He srathered a working library of twelve 

^ ^ ^ ^ , A Life Work 

thousand volumes, with five hundred vol- 
umes of original and copied documents. The oflicial 
positions which he held facilitated his studies by 
affording special privileges and opportunities for ex- 
amining government records. Under President Polk, 
he served as Secretary of the Navy, and to him is due 
the founding of the Naval Academy at Annapolis. He 



356 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

was sent as minister both to England and to Germany. 
In his public offices he served his country honorably 
Public ^^^ well, but the controlling motive of 

Service ^ig life was the making and perfecting of 

his History. At the outset of this great literary under- 
taking 'he framed for himself the rigid rule, "to secure 
perfect accuracy in the relation of facts, even to their 
details and their coloring, and to keep truth clear from 
the clouds, however brilliant, of conjecture and tradi- 
tion." Adherence to this rule made the work, for the 
period it covers, a standard authority. 

The History, in twelve large volumes, extends from 
the discovery of America to the founding of the new 
government after the Revolution. The two final 
volumes are devoted to the "Formation of the Con- 
stitution " ; seven volumes are given to the Revolution, 
in the treatment of which the author's fine talent for 
the description of military and diplomatic events is 
especially prominent. The merits of this great work 
Merits of the ^^^ many and substantial, the broad scope 
History ^j^^ well-defined conception of the theme, 

the strong and stirring qualities of the style arising 
from the author's sustained enthusiasm for his subject, 
the vast stores of information skillfully condensed 
into a clear and consecutive narrative. "One must 
follow him minutely," says Higginson, "through the 
war for independence to appreciate in full the consum- 
mate grasp of a mind that can deploy military events 
in a narrative as a general deploys brigades in a field. 



VI II] THE HISTORIANS 357 

Add to this the capacity for occasional maxims to 
the highest degree profound and lucid, in the way 
of political philosophy, and you certainly combine 
in one man some of the greatest qualities of the 
historian." 

But the defects of Bancroft are too prominent to 
be overlooked. He is too patriotic to be truly critical, 
he is too confident of perfection in all things demo- 
cratic and American ; he digresses too much, drawing 
the reader aside to listen to commonplace reflections 
in morals and philosophy; he makes unwarrantable 
and unscientific use of authorities in omit- Defects of 
ting all quotation marks ; his style is often *^® History 
pompous and inflated, especially in the early volumes, 
revealing a conscious effort to reach a dignity and state- 
liness befitting his grand theme. His rhetoric, however, 
as well as other excesses, was much chastened by rigor- 
ous revision in the final edition, his taste having be- 
come severer with age. And yet, with all its sins 
upon it, the earlier edition of the History is to be pre- 
ferred, for the blooming freshness and exuberance of 
his Americanism and profound faith in democracy 
give to the text a flavor of unrestrained sincerity that 
one cannot afford to exchange for the proprieties of a 
more modest style. Moreover, one easily condones 
the faults of a work that in its final impression must 
always be imposing and monumental. 



358 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



WILLIAM HICKLING PRESCOTT 



1796-1859 



Three years after the appearance of Bancroft's first 
volume, Prescott's " History of Ferdinand and Isa- 
. v^ . bella" was pub- 
lished. This fasci- 
nating period of 
history had been 
neglected by Euro- 
pean historians, and 
it was left for an 
American to give to 
the world the first 
comprehensive view 
of the reign of those 
two illustrious sov- 
ereigns, whose 
names are insepa- 
rably linked with 
the beginnings of 
American history. 
William Hickling Prescott was born in Salem, Mass., 
in 1796. His grandfather was the Colonel Prescott of 
Early Bunker Hill renown, and his father was a 

Misfortune lawyer, who, in Webster's opinion, stood at 
the head of the Massachusetts bar " for legal learning 
and attainments." While in college at Harvard, an 
accident, caused by the wanton carelessness of a class- 




William Hickling Prescott 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 359 

mate, deprived him forever of the sight of one eye. 
Soon after graduation the other eye was seriously 
affected, and he was condemned for life to partial 
blindness, with the ever-present danger of a total loss 
of sight. This cruel misfortune determined his life- 
work. Compelled to abandon his original purpose of 
becoming a lawyer, he decided after long deliberation 
to devote himself to literary work, notwithstanding 
the almost insurmountable difficulties certain to be 
encountered. Fortunately an ample income afforded 
him every advantage for testing the practicability of 
his choice. 

There are in the history of letters few parallels to 
the heroic patience and resolution illustrated in the 
careers of our two most attractive historians, Prescott 
and Parkman, and the lesson of their lives is perhaps 
as valuable as their books. Such devoted careers are 
to be counted among the martyrdoms of a Heroic 
literature. During all the years of his ^**® 
study and writing, Prescott was unable to use his 
eyesight in reading for more than two or three hours 
a day — sometimes for only thirty -five minutes a day, 
dividing this time into five-minute periods, separated 
by intervals of a half-hour, and often for months he 
could not look at a book. Nearly everything was read 
aloud to him by a secretary. He worked in a dark- 
ened room, and wrote with a noctograph, an instrument 
for guiding the hand with an ivory stylus over car- 
bonized paper. In order that, by good health, he 



360 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

might preserve the little sight remaining, he exacted 
of himself the strictest observance of self-imposed 
laws in respect to food, clothing, exercise, even the 
minutest matters of daily life. Yet throughout this 
life of darkness and self-denial, he maintained a cheer- 
ful and radiant temperament, charming and winning, 
by his beautiful character, the hearts of all who were 
privileged to know him. 

On January 19, 1826, he recorded in his journal the 
decision to write upon the " Eeign of Ferdinand and 
Isabella." Twenty years afterward he wrote against 
this passage, "A fortunate choice." In a letter to a 
friend, quoting Dr. Johnson's saying in his life of 
Milton, "that no man can compile a history who is 
blind," he said in respect to his decision : " Although 
Toilsome I should lose the use of my vision alto- 
Preparations gether, by the blessing of God, if my ears 
are spared me, I will disprove the assertion, and my 
chronicle, whatever other demerits it may have, shall 
not be wanting in accuracy and research." He had 
already spent ten years in the study of general litera- 
ture and modern languages, merely as a preparation 
for literary work, and the next ten years were given 
to this first Spanish theme. A library of material 
was gathered, and with painful toil he set to work to 
master it. At first he was obliged to employ a reader 
who knew not a word of Spanish. Of this experience 
he once said : " I cannot even now call to mind with- 
out a smile the tedious hours in which, seated under 



VIII] THE HISTORIANS 361 

some old trees in my country residence, we pursued 
our slow and melancholy way over pages which af- 
forded no glimmering of light to him, and from which 
the light came dimly struggling to me through a half 
intelligible vocabulary." 

Three years and a half were given to reading before 
the writing was begun, and three months were spent 
in making notes for the first chapter. To the work of 
revising and condensing he gave fully two years. At 
length, with many misgivings, he gave his history to 
the public, and its success was immediate 

Publication 

and astonishing, not only at home but even of " Ferdi- 
in England, where the opinion still pre- f^'^.^.^'^^, 
vailed that it was impossible for a great 
book to be produced in America. "A success so 
brilliant," says Ticknor, "had never before been 
reached in so short a time by any work of equal size 
and gravity on this side of the Atlantic." Daniel 
Webster spoke of the author as " a comet which had 
suddenly blazed out upon the world in full splendor." 
Prescott was led naturally by his Spanish studies to 
his next two themes, the first of which, the " Conquest 
of Mexico," was graciously yielded to him by Wash- 
ington Irving, his only rival in the Spanish field. 
After six years of the same toilsome and 

^ other Works 

scrupulous industry this work was pub- 
lished, and was followed, in 1847, by the " Conquest 
of Peru." His final and greatest undertaking, the 
<' History of Philip II," for which he gathered a 



362 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

magnificent collection of books and manuscripts, was 
left unfinished at his death in 1859. 

The severest charge against Prescott's histories is 
that they are too interesting to be true. In these 
days of scientific literalism, it is perhaps natural to 
regard with suspicion a historian who is read as freely 
as the standard novelists. But history was never 
Historical written with a more conscientious respect 
Accuracy fQj. facts. Even in his most highly colored 
passages, Prescott can never, like Macaulay, be con- 
victed of straining the truth for the sake of the 
rhetoric. He may have overestimated the ability of 
the early chroniclers to describe facts without pervert- 
ing them with romantic coloring ; but if he elevated 
his Aztecs and Peruvians to a plain of civilization not 
easily reconcilable with inherent probability or with 
the results of archaeological research, it must be 
remembered that he did so upon the authority of those 
who had seen what they described. 

The perennial interest of these histories is due to 
the peculiar attractiveness of the subjects and of the 
style. The themes were happily chosen from the most 
glorious period of Spanish history, when the strange 
mingling of religious devotion with the love of con- 
quest and romantic adventure gave to ordinary historic 
facts a tinge of the marvelous, investing such exploits 
as that of Cortez with what Irving called a " magnifi- 
cent mirage." To style Prescott gave deliberate and 
careful attention, elaborating an artistic expression 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 363 

that has been accepted as a standard of easy elegance 
and vivid picturesqueness. His narrative flows smooth 
and clear, like a deep stream in which ob- prescott's 
jects are mirrored in strong outline. His ^*y^® 
figures are definite, concrete, objective ; he loves color 
and action, the open field of war and adventure rather 
than the philosophy of cause and consequence. There 
is, too, a glow in his writing, rich and strong as the 
tropical sunlight of the regions he describes. The 
descriptions in " Ferdinand and Isabella " are at 
times overwrought in style, approaching dangerously 
near to "fine writing." But this overfastidious and 
too conscious attention to form was corrected in the 
" Conquest of Mexico " and the " Conquest of Peru." 
Here he was less restrained by the sense of classic 
propriety and less timid in the use of simple, idiomatic 
and salient phrases. These works, moreover, are like 
prose poems in the unity of subject, harmony of 
details, and artistic management of all the parts, con- 
stituting coherent and finished works of art. Whatever 
deduction may possibly be made from Prescott's work 
as history, through the more minute searchings of a 
later scientific method, its life is assured by its beauty 
and power as literature. 

Reading and Discussion. — The Conquest of Mexico, or The 
Conquest of Peru. 

Biography and Criticism. —Ticknor's "Life of William 
Hicklinfi^ Prescott." Bolton's "Famous American Authors." 
Richardson's "American Literature," Vol. I. Whipple's " Es- 



364 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

says and Reviews," Vol. II. Carpenter's "American Prose." 
Library of the World's Best Literature. Everett's "Orations 
and Speeches," Vol. IV. 

JOHN LOTHROP MOTLEY 

1814-1877 

" The greatest, on the whole, of American historians 
was John Lothrop Motley," says Professor Beers, a 
judgment that seems to be justified by the monu- 
mental character of the " History of the Dutch Eepub- 
lic," a work possessing the same marks of high distinc- 
tion that characterize the works of Froude, Freeman, 
Macaulay and Carlyle. Motley was born in a suburb 
of Boston, April 15, 1814. Among his early playmates 
were Boston's famous wit, Thomas Gold 

Boyhood « -, ^ i -i 

Appleton, and the silver-tongued orator, 
Wendell Phillips; with these companions he enacted 
impromptu dramas, and before he was eleven aston- 
ished them with the first chapters of a novel. He 
was a great reader, learned easily, especially lan- 
guages, and was widely noted for his many gifts 
and striking personal beauty. At ten he went to the 
celebrated "Round Hill" school at Northampton, 
where he was taught German by George Bancroft, 
with whom he was unconsciously preparing to divide 
the earliest honors of historical scholarship in America. 
At thirteen Motley entered Harvard, bearing with 
him the somewhat unfortunate reputation of being a 
remarkable scholar. He studied in a wayward manner, 



vni] THE HISTORIANS 365 

being once "rusticated," read extensively after the 
bent of his own inclinations, and wrote juvenile poems, 
plays, and essays in abundance. After graduation two 
years were spent at the universities of 
Berlin and Gottingen, where he formed 
an intimate friendship with the young Bismarck, the 
future "iron chancellor" of Germany, a friendship 
that continued through life. 

Eeturning from Germany he studied law for a time, 
but with no seriousness and no professional results. In 
1837 he married, and two years later published his first 
novel, " Morton's Hope," a crude, ill-formed expression 
of youthful effusiveness, interesting, how- "Morton's 
ever, for its autobiographic revelations ; for Hope " 
in the hero he was clearly drawing a portrait of him- 
self. " I was always a huge reader," says the hero ; 
" my mind was essentially craving and insatiable. Its 
appetite was enormous, and it devoured too greedily for 
health." Again says the hero: "I was ever at my 
studies, and could hardly be prevailed upon to allot a 
moment to exercise and recreation. I breakfasted with 
a pen behind my ear, and dined in company with a 
folio bigger than the table." 

In 1841 he began his disappointing diplomatic career 
with the position of Secretary to the United States 
Legation in Eussia, which he resigned Diplomatic 
after a few months' residence at St. Peters- Experience 
burg. He was sent by President Lincoln as minister 
to Austria and by President Grant as minister to Eng- 



366 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

land ; from both of these positions he withdrew under 
circumstances painful to himself and discreditable 
to the officials of the State Department at Washing- 
ton. His brilliant social qualities and literary reputa- 
tion won for him a distinguished circle of friends in 
every European capital where he resided ; and Ameri- 
can literature is honored by the inclusion of his name 
with the names of Irving, Bancroft, Lowell, Haw- 
thorne, and Taylor, who have added to the fame of 
scholarship and letters the distinction of officially rep- 
resenting and introducing the culture of the young 
democracy to the old aristocracy of Europe. 

For many years Motley studied in a desultory way, 
lacking the spur of necessity to induce concentrated 
and productive effort. But underneath the apparent 
aimlessness was a strong literary disposition and a 
taste for historical study by which he was being slowly 
guided to his great work. He published a historical 
essay of much merit on " Peter the Great," and braved 
criticism with a second novel, " Merry Mount." This 
was an improvement upon "Morton's Hope" and a 
fairly well-told story, upon a background of colonial 
history, that still has an interest for readers in search 
of local color in early New England. Finally his 
Choosing a generous nature and intense love of liberty 
Theme g^j-^jj Qf fj.gg institutions led him to his great 

theme. He had studied the struggle of the Puritans 
for religious freedom and its broader effects in the 
American Revolution, and he found a striking parallel 



VIII] THE HISTORIANS 367 

in the struggle of the Netherlands against the tyranny 
of Spain. Moreover, while working in this field he 
would be tracing the principles of Americanism back 
to their original sources, a task to which his ardent 
patriotism strongly inclined him. "I had not," he said, 
" first made up my mind to write a history, and then cast 
about to take up a subject. My subject had taken me 
up, drawn me on, and absorbed me into itself. It was 
necessary for me, it seemed, to write the book I had 
been thinking much of, even if it were destined to fall 
dead from the press." Naturally bitter was his disap- 
pointment upon hearing that Prescott was writing a 
history of Philip II that would necessarily include his 
field. He visited Prescott and offered to abandon the 
subject, but the elder historian warmly encouraged his 
plan, offering him the use of his valuable collections, 
and in the preface to his work generously called public 
attention to the importance of the forthcoming work 
of the younger author. 

Motley pursued his subject with unlimited energy 
and enthusiasm, spending several years of minute and 
exacting labor in the libraries and state archives of 
Europe in search of his material. For he had deter- 
mined to base his writing entirely upon "original con- 
temporary documents." The work when completed 
was to be called " The Eighty Years' War T^e Great 
for Liberty," divided into three parts, " The history 
Rise of the Dutch Eepublic," " The History of the 
United Netherlands," and " The History of the Thirty 



368 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Years' War," a grand historical trilogy, describing 
a series of events filled with dramatic and thrilling 
interest, the climax of which was the turning-point of 
modern civilization. It was a magnificent theme, and 
Motley's treatment proved worthy of the theme. The 
first part appeared in 1856, and met with immediate 
success both in Europe and in America, being trans- 
lated at once into Dutch, German, French, and Eus- 
sian. Four years later the first volumes of the 
" United Netherlands " increased the fame and popu- 
larity already achieved. The " Life of John of Barne- 
veld," intended as a kind of interlude between the 
final acts of the " Eighty Years' Tragedy," proved to 
be his last work. From the shock of his wife's death 
in 1874 he never fully recovered, and three years later 
he died, leaving the last act of the splendid trilogy 
unwritten. 

Few writers have succeeded in making history as 
interesting as it is in these volumes of Motley. To 
say that the "Hise of the Dutch Republic" is as 
fascinating as a novel is not an exaggeration. He 
Motley's made the story of Holland, says Bryant, 
style a^g interesting as that of Athens and 

Sparta." The narrative is clear, strong, and pictur- 
esque, enlivened frequently with gentle humor and 
satire, revealing everywhere the earnest, sympathetic 
heart of the author. The description is " so brilliant, 
so full of life and color, that it seems to have caught 
something from the canvases of Rubens and Rem- 



viiij THE HISTORIANS 369 

brandt." Indeed, the chief charm arises from the 
author's warmth of feeling for his subject. His sym- 
pathy with the Dutch Protestants may perhaps have 
led him to be too severe in his judgments of their 
Catholic enemies, but even in his prejudices he kept 
a close hold upon facts. Dramatic intensity is united 
with scientific scholarship and masterly analysis. In 
the painting of great historical portraits, such as those 
of William the Silent, Philip, Queen Elizabeth, and 
Henry of Navarre, he rivals Macaulay. 

Of the influence of personal character upon his 
work Whipple writes : " Those who knew him in- 
timately read his works with the same delight that 
they listened to his conversation, when some great 
question of justice or freedom which had touched his 
heart stimulated all the faculties and evoked all 
the acquirements of his fertile and richly 
stored intellect, and when he poured forth Personal 
his eloquence in a torrent of speech, every ^^^^^^^^^ 
word of which was alive with a generous ardor for 
truth and right, and a noble disdain for everything 
false, mean, base, and cruel. As the historian of 
liberty in its early struggles with political and eccle- 
siastical despotism, every quality of his large and 
opulent nature found frank expression in his books. 
The reader of his works is therefore not only enriched 
by the new facts and striking thoughts he communi- 
cates, but by the direct communication of the author's 
soul to his own. That soul was the soul of a singu- 
2b 



370 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

larly noble, sincere, honorable, and intrepid gentle- 
man, who felt the mere imputation of a stain as a 
wound ; and to the young men of the country intimacy 
with such a spirit through his writings cannot but 
exert a healthy stimulus on all that is best both in 
their exertions and their aspirations." 

Reading and Discussion. — Rise of the Dutch Republic. 

Biography and Criticism. — Hohnes's " Life of John Lothrop 
Motley." " Correspondence," edited by G. W. Curtis. Whip- 
ple's " Recollections of Eminent Men." Carpenter's " Ameri- 
can Prose." Richardson's " American Literature." 



FRANCIS PARKMAN 

1823-1893 

Massachusetts has been the illustrious mother of 
American historians, and Harvard College their intel- 
lectual birthplace. Of these distinguished sons the 
one commanding the greatest present fame and popu- 
larity is probably Francis Parkman. He was born in 
Boston in 1823, and graduated from Harvard in 1844. 
While in college he caught something of the en- 
thusiasm of Jared Sparks for historic research, and 
before his junior year had substantially determined 
A Devoted ^^i^ great undertaking that engaged hence- 
Life forth his mental energies for fifty years. 
His life, like Prescott's, was one of marvelous struggle 
and endurance in the pursuit of his cherished purpose, 
A weakness of the eyes, complicated by a painful 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 371 

nervous disorder, made him nearly blind. " The 
heroism shown year after year/' says Fiske, " in con- 
tending with physical ailments was the index of a 
character fit to be mated, for its pertinacious courage, 
with the heroes that live in his shining pages." 

A remarkable autobiographic fragment appeared 
after the death of Parkman, containing details of his 
work and singular sufferings, generally unknown to 
the public.^ When a young boy he was absorbingly 
interested in natural science. At fifteen or sixteen " a 
new passion seized him," he says, writing of himself in 
the third person. "He became enamored Early 
of the woods — a fancy which soon gained Predilections 
full control over the course of the literary pursuits to 
which he was also addicted." At eighteen his plan 
" was, in its most essential features, formed," namely, 
of " writing the story of what was then known as the 
^ Old French War,' " the plan being enlarged later " to 
include the whole course of the American conflict 
between France and England, or, in other words, the 
history of the American forest." 

For the accomplishment of this great literary pur- 
pose he prepared himself with systematic and singular 
thoroughness. His reading and study were deter- 
mined by the new ambition. In conversation and 
debates, according to a fellow-student, he showed 
"symptoms of 'Injun' on the brain." After gradua- 

1 Harvard Graduates' Magazine, June, 1895, and Farnham's 
"Life of Francis Parkman," pp. 318, et seq. 



372 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

tion he studied law, that he might be able to deal 
with the constitutional questions connected with his 
theme. His fundamental rule of work was to gather 
material, as far as possible, through personal observa- 
tion ; therefore for several years he studied the woods. 
Summer vacations were spent in the forests and in 
exploring trips. He would know the life of the 
wilderness just as the Indian knew it ; so he studied 
details of rocks, trees, plants, fish, game, swamps, 
tangled thickets, windfalls, and mountain streams, not 
as a scientist, but as an acute observer, looking for 
the relationship between these things and the life of 
primitive, savage men. That he might endure the 
hardships of forest exploration he subjected himself 
to the most rigorous physical discipline, taking long 
and exhausting walks at a rapid pace, exercising vio- 
lently in the gymnasium, and practicing horsemanship 
under a circus manager. 

One part of his preparation was kept steadily in 
view. He must obtain an inside view of Indian char- 
acter by a living contact with it. Accordingly in 1846 
he went to the Rocky Mountains, and spent several 
months with a tribe of Dakota Indians, entering into 
every form of the wild life of primitive savages, as 
yet untouched by civilization. But the hardships were 
Life among ^00 great for his constitution. For weeks 
the Indians \^^ pQ^jg Qygj. i\^q Black Hills "reeling in 
the saddle with weakness and pain." From this ex- 
pedition he returned with health permanently shat- 



VIII] THE HISTORIANS 373 

tered. " The light of the sun became insupportable, 
and a wild whirl possessed his brain, joined to a uni- 
versal turmoil of the nervous system which put his 
philosophy to the sharpest test." It was a heavy 
price to pay for historic material, but the material 
proved to be precious, for it can never be duplicated. 
Of the real red men Parkman is the final historian. 
Twenty-five years after his thrilling experience he 
wrote : " The wild cavalcade that defiled with me 
down the gorges of the Black Hills, with its paint 
and war plumes, fluttering trophies and savage em- 
broidery, bows, arrows, lances, and shields, will never 
be seen again." 

At the very climax of his nervous disorder he began 
the "Conspiracy of Pontiac." Books and documents 
were read to him " at such times as he could listen 
to them, the length of each reading never, without 
injury, much exceeding half an hour, and periods of 
several days frequently occurred during which he 
could not listen at all. Notes were made by him with 
closed eyes, and afterward deciphered and 

1- -11 1 1 T -, T T^ Painful Labor 

read to him till he had mastered them. For 
the first half year the rate of composition averaged 
about six lines a day." Under similar conditions vol- 
ume after volume of his great work was produced. 
He was himself what he pronounced his hero La Salle 
to be, " a grand type of incarnate energy and will." 
Physical suffering he endured with stoical fortitude, 
preserving a sane and cheerful temper by sheer self- 



374 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

compulsion. The agonizing nervous disorder he always 
referred to humorously as " the enemy," and from the 
torment of this enemy he was never wholly free. 
In later years his sight was " so far improved as to 
permit reading, not exceeding on the average five min- 
utes at a time." During the periods — some of them 
extending to years — when literary work was entirely 
prohibited, he turned to gardening, becoming eminent 
especially in rose-culture, and teaching "even the 
lilies an unwonted florescence." Five times he went 
abroad to search the archives of France and England 
and gather documentary material, and by the aid of 
friends and competent assistants he did this work so 
thoroughly that no revision of his results is likely 
ever to be needed. 

Soon after his return from the Rocky Mountains, 
Parkman published the " Oregon Trail," a captivating 
narrative of his thrilling experiences, more interesting 
than one of Cooper's novels, and even superior to 
Irving's " Captain Bonneville " and " Astoria " in the 
same field. The first of the series of his great his- 
torical narratives to be published (1851) was the 
" Conspiracy of Pontiac," though chronologically the 
last of the series, and a kind of sequel to the whole 

work; for in this volume it was his pur- 
His Books 1 » . p 

pose "to portray the American forest and 

the American Indian at the period when both received 

their final doom." The theme of his whole work 

might be described as the rise and fall of the French 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 375 

power in North America, or the struggle between the 
French and English for supremacy in the New World. 
The several parts of this theme, arranged in proper 
sequence, are " Pioneers of France in the New 
World"; "The Jesuits in North America"; "La 
Salle, or the Discovery of the Great AVest"; "The 
Old Regime in Canada " ; " Count Frontenac, or New 
France under Louis XIV " ; "A Half Century of Con- 
flict"; "Montcalm and Wolfe"; and " The Conspiracy 
of Pontiac and the Indian Wars after the Conquest 
of Canada." 

Not a line of these twelve volumes was written 
without physical strain, yet the style is as free, 
joyous, and serene as if the work had been done 
under conditions of ideal comfort. Two things he 
determined to achieve in his writing, interest and 
accuracy, and the most excruciating pain could not 
swerve him from this ideal. In a preface he says : 
" If at times it may seem that range has been allowed 
to fancy, it is so in appearance only, since parkman's 
the minutest details of narrative or de- ^^y^® 
scription rest on authentic documents or on personal 
observation." His love of truth "was almost a re- 
ligion," says his biographer, " and his work might be 
taken as the altar of his self-sacrifice." He visited 
every important place described in his books. This 
fact, together with an intimate knowledge of nature, 
gives to his style a breezy, out-of-door freshness quite 
unique in historical literature. "' His books fairly 



376 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

reek with the fragrance of pine woods." In these re- 
spects he has the advantage of Prescott, who never 
visited any of the scenes of his books, and whose 
classic grace of style suggests at times the limitations 
of the library. Parkman is not less scrupulous with 
his style than Prescott, but he has more of the art of 
modern realism, possessing the power of so producing 
the illusion of reality, with all its vivid and picturesque 
possibilities, as to invest dry facts with the proverbial 
charms of fiction. In his portraiture he adheres 
strictly to facts, leaving inferences of motive and 
character to the reader. He seldom praises or sym- 
pathizes with his characters ; his concern is with the 
deeds of men, not with their emotions or philosophy. 
It may be too early yet to settle Parkman's position 
as a historian, but the estimate of his judicious fellow- 
historian Fiske cannot be far wrong : " Great in his 
natural powers and great in the use he made of them, 
Parkman was no less great in his occasion and in his 
theme. Of all the American historians he is the most 
Fiske 's deeply and peculiarly American, yet he is 

Estimate ^^ ^jjg same time the broadest and most 
cosmopolitan. The book that depicts at once the 
social life of the Stone Age and the victory of the 
English political ideal over the ideal which Prance 
inherited from imperial Rome is a book for all man- 
kind and for all time. The more adequately men's 
historic perspective gets adjusted, the greater will it 
seem. Strong in its individuality and like to nothing 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 377 

beside, it clearly belongs, I think, among the world's 
few masterpieces of the highest rank, along with the 
works of Herodotus, Thucydides, and Gibbon." 

Reading and Discussion. — The Oregon Trail ; The Jesuits in 
North America, or Montcalm and Wolfe. 

Biography and Criticism. — Farnham's "Life of Francis 
Parkman." " Francis Parkman's Autobiography " {Harvard 
Graduates' Magazine, June, 1895). Fiske's "A Century of 
Science and Other Essays." Century Magazine, November, 
1892 (James Russell Lowell). Vedder's "American Writers 
of To-day." Gilder's "Authors at Home." Carpenter's 
"American Prose." Richardson's "American Literature." 
Library of the World's Best Literature. Roosevelt and 
Lodge's " Hero Tales from American History." Holmes's 
"Francis Parkman." 

A full survey of American historical literature would include 
many authors of distinguished merit, some of whom fall little 
short of achieving the highest eminence. Richard Hildreth's 
(1807-1865) "History of the United States" has generally 
been regarded as a formidable rival of Bancroft's work, written 
from the point of view of a Hamiltonian Federalist, as Ban- 
croft's is from that of a Jeffersonian Democrat. 

Aside from its partisan bias, which at times oblit- J", l^ . 

Historians 
erates the judicial quality, it is valuable for refer- 
ence and comparison ; but it lacks the saving grace of style, 
and is, therefore, dry and forbidding reading. James Schou- 
ler's "History of the United States under the Constitution" 
and Henry Adams's " History of the United States, 1801-1817," 
are excellent works, dealing mainly with the political and con- 
stitutional development of the nation. Thomas Wentworth 
Higginson's " Larger History of the United States, to the Close 
of Jackson's Presidency," is a carefully studied narrative, 
written with the lucidity and grace of the author's delightful 
essays, and, therefore, eminently readable. Edward Eggleston 



378 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

is also devoting a literary gift, well trained by fiction, to the 
writing of history ; "The Beginners of a Nation" and "The 
Transit of Civilization" are the first volumes of an extensive 
work to be entitled "A History of Life in the United States," 
in which the "culture-history" of the people is to be given, 
with special fullness in the colonial period. The "History of 
the People of the United States," by John Bach McMaster, is 
modeled in style and method upon the histories of Macaulay 
and Green, and possesses many of the substantial merits of 
those masterpieces. It takes up the narrative of national prog- 
ress where Bancroft left it, and, with an extraordinary supply 
of minute details, gathered by vast industry, unfolds the life of 
the people in all its phases with a fullness that makes the work 
indispensable for the period it covers. 

Among the latest historians, John Fiske (1842-1901), per- 
haps, has given strongest promise of permanency and high 
rank. His ten volumes devoted to the colonial and revolution- 
ary periods constitute a worthy monument to his scholarly re- 
search and literary attainments. The titles of the parts of his 
general scheme are: "The Discovery of America," "Begin- 
nings of New England," "Old Virginia and her Neighbors," 
"The Dutch and Quaker Colonies," "The American Revolu- 
tion," and " The Critical Period of American History." While 
not without distinction as an investigator of original sources, 
Fiske shows his strength mainly as a critical and judicial re- 
viewer of the results of his predecessors, and as a master of 
clear exposition and of a style remarkable for its lucidity, sim- 
plicity, and force. Among histories of particular sections, John 
Gorham Palfrey's (1796-1881) " History of New England," is 
preeminent. It is, says Jameson, "probably the best single 
large piece of work that has been done in America on any part 
of our colonial period." His thoroughness, accuracy, exten- 
sive knowledge of original sources, and general skill in narra- 
tion, have made it a standard authority. The monumental 
"Narrative and Critical History of America," of Justin Win- 
sor, is, in the main, a collection of monographs by specialists, 
varying accordingly in interest and value. This author's 



viii] THE HISTORIANS 379 

" Christopher Columbus," " Cartier to Frontenac," and " The 
Mississippi Basin," are scholarly contributions to our history 
of permanent worth. The colossal undertaking of Hubert 
Howe Bancroft, the "History of the Pacific Coast of North 
America," which already extends to fifty portly volumes, and 
for which the collection of original documents is the largest 
ever made for a similar purpose in America, is to be regarded 
rather as the rich material of history than as finished history. 
Among the historians, as well as anywhere, we may include 
George Ticknor, the biographer of Prescott, whose learned 
"History of Spanish Literature," published in 1849, remains 
still without a rival. 

The most interesting, and, in many respects, the most valu- 
able part of history is that which is written in the form of indi- 
vidual biography. The finest exponents of a 
nation's greatness are its great men ; and it is the ^ ^ P y 
work of the biographer to record and perpetuate this illustrious 
portion of national life. American literature has no Boswells ; 
biographical writing has generally been incidental to other liter- 
ary work — no author has devoted his best energies exclusively 
to this form of composition ; and yet we need make no con- 
fession of poverty in this department of our literature. William 
Wirt's (1772-1834) "Life of Patrick Henry" and John Mar- 
shall's (1755-1835) "Life of Washington," written early in 
the century, are venerable works, worthy of their great subjects. 
The inspiring and fruitful work of Jared Sparks was directed 
mainly toward biography. Irving poured his fine literary tal- 
ents into the "Life and Voyages of Columbus," "Mahomet 
and his Successors," and "Life of Washington," books that 
still retain a substantial value in the press of modern competi- 
tors. 

The most extensive and popular writer of biography in 
America is James Parton (1822-1891). His first work was the 
"Life of Horace Greeley," which Greeley himself declared to 
be "mighty interesting reading," and which the public de- 
manded at the rate of thirty thousand copies a year. His next 
success was the "Life and Times of Aaron Burr," which is as 



380 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap, viii 

interesting to-day as when published in 1858. Other equally- 
interesting and worthy biographies are his lives of Franklin, 
Andrew Jackson, and Thomas Jefferson. His last serious pro- 
duction was the "Life of Voltaire," the studies for which ex- 
tended over a period of twenty years. The present tendency 
of biographical writing is illustrated in the two notable series, 
"American Statesmen" and "American Men of Letters," in 
which is found the work of many of the best contemporary 
writers and scholars. Of several autobiographic works in 
recent years, the finest is the " Personal Memoirs of Ulysses S. 
Grant," which, through the inherent interest of its matter, its 
strong, direct style, and its well-measured judgments of men 
and events, is likely to hold a permanent place in literature. 



CHAPTER IX 

THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 

In literature, as in commerce and society, the influ- 
ence of great cities has become a formative force. 
The tendency of productive energy is toward the large 
commercial centers; their vast and varied aggrega- 
tions of personality and competitive industry furnish 
a powerful stimulus to talent in every field. The 
metropolis is a world in itself, representative of the 

a^reat outside world, from which it draws 

° ' The Great 

its sustenance. Human experience is here centers of 
broadened and intensified, and human en- ^ ® 
deavor is correspondingly quickened. Here are the 
accumulated treasures of wealth, culture, and the 
arts. The intellectual life of the nation here flows 
in its highest and swiftest tides. Here are the great 
publishing houses, newspapers, and magazines. The 
author is brought into close touch with the market 
for his wares; he works in a thrifty, business inti- 
macy with printer and publisher. And the allure- 
ment of these material advantages and opportunities 
draws cityward, with increasing power, writers who 
have begun the courtship of fame in quiet country 
homes. 

381 



382 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

But this gravitation of authorship to the metropo- 
lis is not without detriment to literature. Exposed 
to the contagious greed for material gain, authors 
are tempted to write down to a popular taste for 
sensational entertainment, impelled by the hope of 
large returns, instead of writing up to artistic stand- 
injurious ards, impelled and sustained by high 
Influences ideals. Professional journalism more and 
more absorbs the best literary energy ; writers of the 
finest gifts, drawn into its stimulating service, and 
trained in its methods of dexterous celerity for meet- 
ing the feverish demands of the public, dissipate their 
talents in hasty, ephemeral work. The spirit of com- 
mercialism invades the sanctity of art; a monetary 
standard is applied to the success of authorship. 
Authors become unwilling to " meditate the thank- 
less Muse " and write for immortality, but meditate 
rather the application of business principles to litera- 
ture, rapid production, quick returns and a watchful 
eye upon popular demand. The great danger to our 
literature to-day is this tendency to commercialize it. 

The literature produced under these conditions will 

necessarily bear the stamp of its metropolitan origin, 

more or less strongly impressed according as the 

^ ,.^. , author masters or is mastered by his en- 
Qualities of ... 

Metropolitan vironment. In general it will be versatile, 

^^ ^°^ clever, and entertaining, revealing a sensi- 

tiveness to the complex influences of wealth and 
society ; it will be cosmopolitan in theme, often highly 



ix] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 383 

finished in style, but impressional rather than schol- 
arly, lacking in depth, and seriousness ; sometimes 
merely experimental or eccentric, without coherence, 
system, or completeness ; finally, it will be free from 
provincialism and deprived of the local color and per- 
sonality that give strength to provincial writing. The 
best of the metropolitan literature is that which shows 
the struggle of the ideal with its material entangle- 
ment. Occasionally an author of resolute purpose, 
like Bryant, lives two lives, keeping a clear path 
through the low-lying plain of business to the up- 
lands of poetry and dreams. 

From every quarter of the winds authors have been 
gathering in recent years in great metropolitan New 
York. Early in the last century the presence of the 
Knickerbocker group made New York for a time the 
chief literary center, and now more widely pervasive 
forces have made it again the literary capi- Literary 
tal. In this restless throng of writers it is ^^^ ^^^^ 
possible to distinguish two or three well-defined groups ; 
the Poets, who succeeded the great New England 
singers, the Essayists, who like George William Cur- 
tis love to remember how Irving and Addison wrote, 
and the Story-tellers, who with remarkable fertility 
of resource cater to the capricious tastes of a public 
that divides its literary allegiance between the latest 
new novel and the latest new play. 

Chief of the metropolitan group of poets are Bay- 
ard Taylor, Eichard Henry Stoddard, Thomas Bailey 



384 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Aldricli, and Edmund Clarence Stedman. All were 
from the country, all were connected for better or for 
worse with city journalism, all show the restraining, 
entangling influences of metropolitan life upon their 
literary development. The recognized leader and in- 
spirer of this brotherhood of city poets was Bayard 
Taylor, whose friendship is still a precious memory to 
the companions who have survived him. 

BAYARD TAYLOR 

1825-1878 

From sturdy Quaker stock, Bayard Taylor was born 
at Kennet Square, Chester County, Penn., in 1825. 
A remote ancestor came over with William Penn. 
Through his mother he inherited a trace of German 
blood, to which fact is sometimes attributed his in- 
clination toward Teutonic studies. His highest school 
privileges were found in a village academy. A phre- 
nologist said to the father, upon glancing at the boy's 
head, " You will never make a farmer of him to any 
Early great extent; you will never keep him 

Inclinations home; that boy will ramble around the 
world, and furthermore, he has all the marks of a 
poet." The passions that controlled his life were here 
correctly indicated. His earliest school essays were 
upon travel and foreign scenes with which his fancy 
was constantly busy. At fifteen he made his first 
tramp abroad, a trip on foot to the battlefield of 



ix] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 385 

Brandywiiie, and a description of the trip in a local 
newspaper was his first publication. The next year 
he made his first appearance as a poet in the Philadel- 
phia Saturday Evening Post, the delicious sensations 
of which event are described in the novel, "John 
Godfrey's Fortunes." At seventeen he was appren- 
ticed to a printer, and in the intervals of type-setting 
studied German, Spanish, and the English poets. In 
1844 he published "Ximena," a little volume of 
poems, which, like the firstlings of so many other 
poets, were thoroughly regretted afterward. The 
title-page bore a significant quotation, " I am a Youth- 
ful Traveler in the Way." The book won for him 
a few literary friends and a little money, with which 
means he was enabled to engage in an adventure that 
brought success and fame. 

Willis's "Pencillings by the Way" and Long- 
fellow's "Hyperion" fortified his determination to 
realize the golden visions of Europe with which his 
mind was filled. With one hundred and forty dollars 
and a few promises from newspaper editors to accept 
his descriptive letters, he crossed the ocean and spent 
two years in Europe, tramping "upwards of three 
thousand miles." He endured many hardships, trav- 
eling "with but a sheet of paper between him and 
starvation," as Greeley described it, learning how to 
live upon six cents a day, but reveling in the knowledge 
and culture that flowed in upon his mind. " It was 
his university education," says his biographer. 
2o 



386 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Upon his return in 1846 his letters to the Tribune 
and other papers were gathered into a volume, with 
the title " Views Afoot ; or, Europe seen with Knap- 
sack and Staff." Success was immediate and trium- 
The Begin- phant. The indomitable pluck displayed, 
ningofFame ^|^g simple vigor of style, and the poetic 
enthusiasm delighted the public, and the author 
found himself at twenty-one a literary hero. He 
soon formed a connection with the Tribune, which 
continued through life. "Rhymes of Travel" was 
published in 1848, and in 1849, the epoch-marking 
year of the " gold fever," he went to California to de- 
scribe for readers of the Tribune the wild life of the 
mining camps. The next year brought to Taylor his 
first profound knowledge of grief in the death of his 
young wife, the '' radiantly beautiful " Mary Agnew. 
In her grave, says Smyth, he "buried the first period 
of his literary life." 

Taylor now yielded again to the enticements of 
foreign travel, and made an extended trip through 
the Orient ; nor did his visits to the Old World cease 
until he had explored every region of popular interest, 
from Japan and the peaks of the Himalayas to Ice- 
An Ideal land, the Cape of Good Hope, and the 

Traveler White Nile. Eleven volumes, a veritable 

"library of travel and adventure," are the fruits of 
these wanderings. He was an ideal traveler. Wher- 
ever he went he learned the language and entered 
with boundless enthusiasm into the life of the people. 



IX] 



THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 



387 



From Constantinople he wrote : " I wear the tarboosh, 
smoke the Persian pipe, and drop cross-legged on the 
floor with the ease of any tailor whatever. I deter- 
mined to taste the Orient as it was, in reality, not as a 
mere outside looker-on, and so picked np the Arabic 
tongue, put on the wide trousers, and adopted as 
many Eastern cus- 
toms as was becoming 
to a good Christian." 
But Taylor's work 
in these interesting 
volumes of travel was 
perishable. Rewrote, 
not as a student of 
history or antiquities, 
but merely as a re- 
porter, aiming to give 
vivid pictures of for- 



eign scenes, full of 




Bayard Taylor 



true life and color. 
Such books are quickly read and quickly forgotten. 
Their wide popularity in the author's lifetime came to 
be a source of keen discomfort, for while his highest 
ambition was to be numbered among the great Ameri- 
can poets, the public persisted in regarding him only 
as " the great American traveler." 

Taylor was always moved by a strong love for his 
native Chester County, and on his final return to 
America he purchased a large tract of land, including 



388 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the old homestead, and built a stately home, which 

he named '' Cedarcroft." In 1857 he had married 

Miss Marie Hansen in Germany, and he 
"Cedarcroft" , ^ . . ^ . 

now gathered his parents and sisters into 

one large family. But like Walter Scott, in the pride 
and joy of home-building on a princely scale, he 
planned beyond his means, and "the home that he 
had longed for and toiled for became a burden and 
a weary weight, prematurely ending his overtaxed 
life." 

It was this home at Kennet that furnished mainly 
the materials for his three novels, "Hannah Thurs- 
ton," "John Godfrey's Fortunes," and "The Story of 
Kennet." The first was a satire on the reform efforts 

of the period, teetotalism, vegetarianism, 
His Novels . . , , ^ ^ - . . ^ . ^ 

spiritualism, and abolition. It reached a 

wide popularity, was praised by Hawthorne, and 
even inclined the London Spectator to "suspect that 
Bayard Taylor had placed himself in the first rank of 
novelists." His best novel, "The Story of Kennet," 
is an idyllic tale, redolent of the beautiful fields 
about "Cedarcroft." The characters were drawn 
from life, some of them from his own family, and the 
story was drawn from his deepest affections. "The 
lovely pastoral landscapes," he says, "have been 
copied field for field and tree for tree." Many short 
stories and sketches were contributed to the maga- 
zines, and some of his best prose is found in his 
literary criticism. Prose, however, was his money- 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 389 

making drudge; his artistic pains he reserved for 
poetry. 

Few men of English speech have equaled Taylor 
in the mastery of the German language and literature. 
For many years he devoted himself zealously to the 
study of Goethe and Schiller, whose biographies he 
planned to write. In 1869 he was elected to a lecture- 
ship on German literature in Cornell Uni- Translation 
versity, and in 1870 he published his of "Faust" 
translation of Goethe's "Faust," the finest version 
yet produced in the English language. Its special 
merits are sympathetic interpretation and strict fidel- 
ity to the text. The thought, the subtle poetic feel- 
ing, and the musical harmonies are preserved, in the 
exact original meters, with marvelous skill and per- 
fection. It is, indeed, a reproduction in English, 
rather than a translation. Moreover, it is a scholarly 
piece of work, the vast critical literature surrounding 
the poem having been thoroughly mastered, as shown 
by the excellent notes. 

The poetic gift was held sacred by Taylor ; to him, 
as to Wordsworth, it was the " faculty divine." To 
poetry, therefore, he gave the best that was in him, 
and upon it he based his highest hopes of permanent 
fame. His finest thought, feeling, and ideals, his gen- 
erous manhood, love of nature, home, and Devotion to 
kindred, his passion for perfection, his Poetry 
deep religious philosophy, are fully expressed in his 
verse. Unlike Lowell, he never permitted humor to 



390 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

disturb the meditations of his Muse. His frolicsome 
wit was indulged only in poetic recreations, like the 
exceedingly clever parodies in the " Echo Club." The 
rich, ruby-colored "Poems of the Orient," published 
in 1854, full of fire, passion, and sensuous delight in 
beauty, proved his lyrical gift. In this volume was 
the "Bedouin Song," one of the supreme love lyrics 
of the language : — 

From the Desert I come to thee 
On a stallion shod with fire ; 
And the winds are left behind 

In the speed of my desire. 
Under thy window I stand, 
I And the midnight hears my cry : 

I love thee, I love but thee, 
With a love that shall not die 
Till the sun grows cold. 
And the stars are old, 
And the leaves of the Judgment Book unfold I 

The collection entitled "The Poet's Journal," con- 
tains a revelation of the poet's domestic happiness, 
and opens with a graceful dedication " To the Mistress 
of Cedarcroft," who is asked to judge his poems — 

Before they try the common air of song. 
Fame won at home is of all fame the best : 

Crown me your poet, and the critic's wrong 
Shall harmless strike where you in love have smiled, 
Wife of my heart, and mother of my child ! 

The most popular of the long poems is " Lars : A 
Pastoral of Norway," a delightful idyllic narrative, of 
which Stedman says : " We have no idyl of similar 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 391 

length, except 'Evangeline/ that equals it in finish 
and interest." The " Home Pastorals and Ballads,'' 
like his novels, testify to Taylor's abiding love for his 
native Chester. Three dramatic poems mark the 
highest reach of his poetic ambition, " The Prophet," 
''The Masque of the Gods," and "Prince Deukalion." 
In these, especially the last, which was his swan song, 
are embodied his profoundest thought and loftiest 
spiritual aspiration. 

The yoke of incessant labor under which Taylor 
lived during his last years was lightened somewhat by 
the honors that came in recognition of his eminence 
in letters. At the dedication of the Gettysburg mon- 
ument, he gave the ode, and his " Centennial Ode," at 
the opening of the Philadelphia Exposi- pubiic 
tion in 1876, in the lofty Pindaric measure, Honors 
was in thought and style worthy of the great occasion 
it celebrated. In 1878 he was sent as minister to 
Germany. The unique fitness of the appointment 
was recognized by a universal expression of congratu- 
lation. This seemed to him the beginning of a new 
era in his life, when with honors, leisure, and troops 
of friends, the well-earned accompaniments of old 
age, he might consummate some of the great purposes 
toward which his soul had long been yearning. But 
it was only the beginning of the end. His splendid 
constitution had broken under the strain of unremit- 
ting toil, and death overtook him a few months after 
his arrival in Berlin. 



392 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Taylor was the most versatile of American authors. 
Only Holmes can be compared with him in this re- 
spect. He was traveler, lecturer, journalist, critic, 
translator, novelist, poet. The whole gamut of liter- 
ary activity he sounded, and with distinction. But 
his versatility and omnivorous interests were his mis- 
fortune, for they prevented that devoted concentration 
necessary to the production of work of immortal 
greatness. Taylor's original work in its varied forms 
The Bane of ^as almost every quality short of great- 
versatiiity ness. His splendid productive energies 
were wasted upon commonplace work. His working 
capacity was enormous ; he wrote always with a rush- 
ing rapidity, and often fifteen hours a day ; his pub- 
lished works number fifty-two volumes. But he 
respected his profession, and the purity, honesty, and 
aspiration that friends found and loved so much in 
him as a man are found everywhere in what he wrote. 
The last line of "Epicedium," written of Bryant, was 
as true of himself : — 

And his first word was as noble as his last. 

If the poetry of Taylor is lacking in originality, 
echoing too clearly the notes of other poets, if his 
sonorous diction is at times too rhetorical, it is dis- 
Poetic tinguished for technical skill and finish, 

Qualities j-j^.]^ effects of sound and color, force in 
objective picturing, lyric ease and grace and charm, 
qualities that constitute an individuality of real living 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 393 

power. His subtle effects of alliteration and inter- 
linear rhyme, his splendid rhythm in such poems as 
" Canopus " and " The Lost Crown " are not easily 

surpassed. 

A throne of gold the wheels uphold, 

Each spoke a ray of jeweled fire ; 
The crimson banners float unrolled, 

Or falter when the winds expire. 

This deft and flawless workmanship leads Richardson 
to think that after Holmes, Taylor " was at once the 
most natural and most accomplished American master 
of the purely lyrical art since Poe. The melodies of 
the infinite song rang in his ears." As to his relative 
rank Beers says: "All in all, Taylor may unhesita- 
tingly be put first among our poets of the second 
generation — the generation succeeding that of Long- 
fellow and Lowell." 

Class Study. — The Poet in the East ; Bedouin Song ; The 
Song of the Camp ; Wind and Sea ; The Lost Crown ; Nubia ; 
Canopus; "Moan, ye Wild Winds" ; Metempsychosis of the 
Pine ; The Quaker Widow ; Proposal ; The National Ode. 

Class Reading. — Poetry : Lars : a Pastoral of Norway ; Eric 
and Axel ; Amran's Wooing ; August ; The Old Pennsylvania 
Farmer. 

Prose : Views Afoot ; The Story of Kennet. 

Biography and Criticism. — " Life and Letters of Bayard 
Taylor," by Marie Hansen Taylor and Horace E. Scudder. 
Smyth's "Bayard Taylor" (American Men of Letters). Wil- 
son's " Bryant and his Friends." Stedmau's " Poets of Amer- 
ica." Richardson's "American Literature." 

Poets' Tributes. — Whittier's " Tent on the Beach." Read's 
"Home Pastorals" (character of Arthur). Stoddard's "To 



394 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

B. T." and "To Bayard Taylor, on his Fortieth Birthday." 
Aldrich's "Bayard Taylor." Longfellow's "Bayard Taylor." 
Cranch's "Bayard Taylor." 

RICHARD HENRY STODDARD 
1825- 

Bayard Taylor's closest friend in the city group of 
writers was Richard Henry Stoddard, a lyric poet 
whose clear-voiced melodies have not received their 
due meed of praise. He was born in Hingham, Mass., 
in 1825, and in early childhood found a permanent 
home in New York. There was little in the condi- 
tions of his youth to encourage the taste for letters, 
but he early set his face toward Arcady, and for more 
Early than half a century has dwelt within her 

struggles fitful and bewitching shades. He attended 
the city schools, then worked by day in an iron 
foundry, and by night studied the poets. In 1849 he 
published a little volume of poems called "Foot- 
prints," and in 1852 a second collection, more truly 
representative of his qualities. Through the kindly 
aid of Hawthorne, he obtained a place in the New 
York Custom House, which he retained seventeen 
years. After this service he gave himself unre- 
servedly to literature. 

It was Stoddard's happy lot to marry a gifted 
woman, who has written poems of sterling worth, and 
three powerful novels, " The Morgesons," " Two Men," 
and " Temple House," the last of which is regarded 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 395 

by Leslie Stephen as one of the most remarkable 

books of the age. But these books were born out of 

due time, and their original and striking 

' ° ° Elizabeth 

qualities did not catch public favor ; they Barstow 
contained some of the strongest features of ^^^^^^''^ 
realism and of the intense method of Ibsen, before 
realism and Ibsenism had appeared as literary creeds. 
In the " Hymn to the Beautiful," a poem that re- 
calls Shelley's " Hymn to Intellectual Beauty," Stod- 
dard tells us how the spirit of beauty possessed him 
even in youth : — 

From earliest infancy my heart was thine, 
With childish feet I trod thy temple aisles ; 
Not knowing tears, I worshiped thee with smiles, 

Or if I wept it was with joy divine. 

By day, and night, on land, and sea, and air, 
I saw thee everywhere. 

In 1856 appeared " Songs of Summer," by which his 
fame was established, "the most specifically poetic 
book of verse," in Stedman's judgment, "produced in 
this country up to that time, and the one most worth 
having for its melody and artistic beauty." If the 
passionate love of beauty and the prodigal fancy sug- 
gest Keats, there is also evidence that the poet was 
developing a clear, spontaneous expression, soon to 
be recognized as his own. In this volume is the 
familiar " Flight of Youth " : — 

There are gains for all our losses, 
There are balms for all our pain ; 



396 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

and such gemlike felicities as this : — 

The sky is a drinking-cup, 

That was overturned of old, 
And it pours in the eyes of men 

Its wine of airy gold. 

We drink that wine all day, 
Till the last drop is drained up, 

And are lighted off to bed 
By the jewels in the cup ! 

Stoddard's gift is essentially lyric, but he has at- 
tempted the epic successfully in the form of the 
A Lyric Poet ^^^^^^ ^^^ *1^® metrical tale. " The King's 
Bell " is a pleasing narrative poem, in 
smooth-flowing and graceful verse, presenting the 
heavy thought of the limitations of human happiness. 
His loftiest lyrical efforts are a centennial ode, 
^' Guests of the State," a Phi Beta Kappa poem, 
" History," read at Harvard College, and a noble 
Horatian ode, " Abraham Lincoln," which, says Ved- 
der, " one is inclined to pronounce, not only the best 
thing Stoddard has ever written, but the best thing 
any poet has written on Lincoln, saving only Lowell's 
unapproached ' Commemoration Ode.' " But it is by 
his bright, sweet songs that he is best known, "a 
skylark brood whose notes are rich with feeling." 
A personal note is struck in the sequence of little 
lyrics entitled "In Memoriam," which are heart- 
melting in the simple and direct expression of grief. 
Stoddard's father was a sea captain, and his earliest 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 397 

years were spent near the ocean; these facts may 
explain the frequency with which he turns to this 
theme in his poems. The beauty and mystery of the 
multitudinous seas are always exercising their charm 
upon him. It was perhaps the recognition of this 
lifelong influence that led him, in the collection pub- 
lished in 1880, intended as the definitive edition of 
his poems, to place at the end the beautiful " Hymn 
to the Sea," in which the curling ripples on the sand 
and the sounding beat of surf are alike reproduced in 
the finely varied rhythm of his verse. 

Summer and winter are alike to thee, 

The settled, sullen sorrow of the sky 

Empty of light ; the laughter of the sun ; 

The comfortable murmur of the wind 

From peaceful countries, and the mad uproar 

That storms let loose upon thee in the night 

Which they create and quicken with sharp, white fire, 

And crash of thunders ! Thou art terrible 

In thy tempestuous moods, when the loud winds 

Precipitate their strength against the waves ; 

They rave, and grapple, and wrestle, until at last. 

Baffled by their own violence, they fall back. 

And thou art calm again, no vestige left 

Of the commotion, save the long, slow roll 

In summer days on beaches far away. 

Like Taylor, Stoddard has been a prodigious writer 
of prose. Much of it is excellent literary criticism and 
biography, and his reminiscences of American authors 
are especially valuable. But this writing is too often 
merely the product of personal need or the publisher's 



398 AMEKICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

demand for timely " copy," and forms but a perishable 

memorial of a life of conscientious and toilsome literary 

industry. So long as there are independ- 
Prosc Work ^ o x 

ent souls, like Taylor and Stoddard, who in 
a metropolis given over largely to the ideals of mam- 
mon dedicate themselves wholly to literature, to live 
by it and to die by it, there is hope of the higher life 
for art and society. The devotion, denial, and struggle 
of such lives render them in the highest sense heroic. 

Class Study. — The Flight of Youth ; Hymn to the Beauti- 
ful ; The Sky is a Drinking-Cup ; Birds; The Dead; "Along 
the Grassy Slope I Sit" ; The Sea — "You stooped and picked 
a Red-lipped Shell " ; A Rose Song ; Summer and Autumn ; 
Adsum ; Abraham Lincoln ; Hymn to the Sea. 

Class Reading. — The King's Bell ; Wishing and Having ; 
Youth and Age ; You know the Old Hidalgo ; Miserrimus ; An 
Old Song Reversed ; At Gadshill ; The Country Life ; Irrep- 
arable. 

Biography and Criticism. — Tedder's "American Writers of 
To-day." Gilder's "Authors at Home." Bolton's "Famous 
American Authors." Critic, July 6, 1895, and April 3, 1897. 
Stedman's " Poets of America." Halsey's " American Authors 
and Their Homes." 

Poets' Tributes. — Taylor's "Epistle from Mount Tmolus, 
to Richard Henry Stoddard" and "To R.H.S." Edith M. 
Thomas's "0 Most Reverend of All the Singing Throng." 
Riley's "O Princely Poet." 

THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH 

1836- 

Thomas Bailey Aldrich, our poet par excellence of 
delicate and polished measures, the "American Her- 



ix] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 399 

rick/' belongs with the New York poets who were his 
early friends and associates, although his name is 
commonly associated with Boston. He was born in 
1836 in picturesque old Portsmouth, N.H., and there 
spent his early youth. The history of those years is 
given in "The Story of a Bad Boy," the , 
most delightful bad boy in literature, of a Bad 
whose story charms old and young alike. °^ 
(Lowell wished the little book "had been twice as 
large.") The financial misfortunes of the family de- 
prived him of a college education. At eighteen he 
went to New York, where he spent the first three 
years as a clerk in a mercantile house. But day- 
books and ledgers were not the books he was born to 
live by. In 1855 he published a little volume of 
poems, " The Bells," and the next year appeared that 
lyric of melting tenderness, "Baby Bell," by which 
he is universally known. He obtained an editorial 
position on the Home Joicrnal, read manuscripts for 
the publishers, wrote stories for the magazines, and 
worked faithfully at the refinement of his art. He 
early showed a tendency toward that perfection of 
form and style for which his work, in both prose and 
verse, is especially distinguished. 

In 1870 Aldrich removed to Boston to become the 
editor of Every Saturday, a literary periodical that 
proved to be too good to live beyond its fourth year. 
In 1881 he succeeded Howells in the editorship of 
the Atlantic Monthly, and sustained for nine years 



400 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

the traditional excellence of that honorable office. 
During this period he wrote the prose works that have 
Edt 1 given him high rank among writers of fic- 
work; tion. "Marjorie Daw, and Other Stories," 

°^^ ^ published in 1873, established his reputation 

for artistic short stories. The title story is a master- 
piece, unsurpassed for originality of conception, re- 
fined and graceful style, and artistic completeness. It 
has been translated into French, Spanish, German, and 
Danish. His longer stories, hardly elaborate enough 
to be called novels, are " Prudence Palfrey," " The 
Queen of Sheba," and " The Stillwater Tragedy." An 
appetizing volume of sketches of European travel is 
called " From Ponkapog to Pesth," the journey having 
begun at Ponkaj)og, the place of his pretty country 
home, a few miles from Boston. The salient qualities 
of Aldrich's prose, well described by Vedder, are " a 
deftness of touch, a sureness of aim, a piquancy of 
flavor, a playfulness of wit, a delicacy of humor, that 
make it perfectly delightful reading. No other of 
our writers has caught so much of the spirit of French 
prose, save Henry James; and Aldrich deserves the 
praise that, while he has learned from the French 
all that they have to teach, he has still remained 
essentially American." 

A collection of poems appropriately entitled " Cloth 
of Gold" appeared in 1874, the " Proem " of whiph 
describes the poet as one who — ■ ^,? i-^-.^.i ,r-l 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 401 

deftly weaves 
A tissue out of autumn leaves, 
With here a thistle, there a rose. 

With art and patience thus is made 
The poet's perfect Cloth of Gold. 

This was followed by "Flower and Thorn," "Mercedes," 
a tragic drama, which won a brief success on the stage 
in 1893, " Wyndham Towers," a long narrative poem, 
and " The Sister's Tragedy." In narrative poetry his 
skill is at its best in " Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book," 
a beautifully versified tale, enveloped in mediaeval 
atmosphere. More strength is found in " Judith and 
Holofernes," in which is revived after a 
thousand years the theme of a Saxon poet. 
The qualities of his genius are not suited to long com- 
positions. He condenses his thought and focuses it 
into a brilliant, gleaming point of expression ; hence 
his sonnets are excellent, some of them, as Howells 
has said, worthy of being numbered among "the great 
sonnets of the language." He compresses poems into 
epigrams, life stories into dainty quatrains — 

Four-line epics one might hide 
In the hearts of roses. 

But that his powers are equal to more sustained lyrical 
efforts in the higher forms is shown in the memorial 
ode, "Spring in New England," one of the finest 
poems inspired by the Civil War. The closing stanza, 
with its symbolic picture of returning peace and joy, 
suggests Lowell's spring musiqr^r ,,• 

2d 



402 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Hark ! 'tis the bluebird's venturous strain 
High on the old fringed elm at the gate, 
Sweet-voiced, valiant on the swaying bough, 

Alert, elate, 
Dodging the fitful spits of snow — 
New England's poet laureate 
Telling us spring has come again ! 

Aldrich is our master miniature painter in verse. 
No other American poet lias imposed upon himself 
such rigid restraints of perfect workmanship. If large 
Artistic things have not been attempted, it may 

Refinement have been because he believes in the su- 
preme beauty of small things. After all, a dewdrop 
is as wonderful as the ocean. His working theory 

seems to be expressed in a quatrain " On Reading '^ 

(it may have been Browning, or Whitman) : — 

Great thoughts in crude, unshapely verse set forth 
• Lose half their preciousness, and ever must. 
Unless the diamond with its own rich dust 
Be cut and polished, it seems little worth. 

His genius is well rooted in the New England soil, 
but it roams freely and afar in search of sweet and 
beautiful things, catching often the warmth and color 
of the Eastern sunshine. Pervading the pure, chill 
atmosphere of his native earth, there is an aroma of 
Orient spices and fruits and tropical gums. Of this 
he writes in the sonnet "Eeminiscence" : — 

Though I am native to this frozen zone 

That half the twelvemonth torpid lies, or dead ; 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 403 

Though the cold azure arching overhead 

And the Atlantic's never-ending moan 

Are mine by heritage, I must have known 

Life otherwhere in epochs long since fled ; 

For in my veins some Orient blood is red, 

And through my thoughts are lotus blossoms blown. 

The poetry of Aldricli, says Lathrop, " is the poetry 
of luxury more than of deep passion, or profound con- 
viction in special directions ; yet it is spontaneous as 
the luxury of bud and tint in springtime. His predi- 
lection is for the picturesque, with touches of fancy, 
occasional lights of humor so reserved and critical 
so dainty that they never disturb the pic- Estimate 
torial harmony, tinges of Eastern color, and hints of 
distant romance. Sometimes a simple miniature picture 
without incident or reflection — as in ' The Lunch ' — 
suffices him. Sometimes it is a little narrative finished 
with microscopic care, sometimes a song, light as 
thistledown and swayed by a passing mood, that 
engages him. But always the same artistic conscience 
and fastidious nicety in expression are maintained." 
Between his poetry and that of Herrick there is more 
than a passing resemblance, and his praise of the 
English poet might well return to himself, for his 
own brief lyrics, not less than Herrick's lyric gems, 
are crystal clear, fresh and musical as brooks in 

And polished as the bosom of a star. 

Class Study. —Baby Bell; Before the Rain; After the 
Rain ; Nameless Pain ; Sea Longings ; The Voice of the Sea ; 



404 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Sleep ; Friar Jerome's Beautiful Book ; Appreciation ; Com- 
edy ; Cradle Song ; Spring in New England. 

Class Reading. — Poetry : Piscataqua River ; When the 
Sultan goes to Ispahan ; Carpe Diem ; Footnotes : A Book of 
Quatrains ; Pursuit and Possession ; The Undiscovered Country ; 
On an Intaglio Head of Minerva ; The Guerdon ; A Petition ; 
Unsung ; An Old Castle. 

Prose: Marjorie Daw, and Other Stories; Prudence Pal- 
frey. 

Biography and Criticism. — Vedder's "American Writers 
of To-day." Bolton's "Famous American Authors." Gilder's 
"Authors at Home." Bayard Taylor's "Essays and Notes" 
and "To T. B. A. and L. W." Richardson's "American 
Literature." Critic, Vol. VIII (George P. Lathrop). 



EDMUND CLARENCE STEDMAN 

1833- 

The poet and critic, Edmund Clarence Stedman, 
came to New York from Hartford, Conn., where he 
was born in 1833. At Yale College he held high 
rank in Greek and English, and won a prize with a 
poem on "Westminster Abbey." He left college 
without graduating, entered journalism, served as a 
war correspondent, and worked faithfully in news- 
paperdom for twelve years before he fully learned the 

irreconcilable difference between writing 
Journalism 

the ephemeral daily " story " for the light- 
minded millions and building " the lofty rhyme " for 
that " fit audience though few " for whose praises 
every true poet strives. He has since expressed the 
judgment that "if a poet or aspiring author must 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 405 

labor for the daily subsistence of a family, it is well 
for his art that he should follow some other calling 
than journalism." Meanwhile he published, in 1860, 
"Poems, Lyric and Idyllic," containing the original 
and spirited ballad of the time, "How Old Brown 
took Harper's Ferry " ; and in 1864, " Alice of Mon- 
mouth," a narrative poem of the war, which has more 
claims upon popular favor than merely the dashing 
"Cavalry Song," which alone seems to have sur- 
vived. 

With the purpose, doubtless, of obtaining more 
surely and swiftly the coveted leisure for literature, 
Stedman began business in Wall Street in 1864, and 
there he remained thirty-six years, the " Banker Poet," 
whose singing voice during those years has gradually 
died away. But if the voice of the poet has become 
silent, the voice of the clear, ripe-minded critic has 
been heard with increasing satisfaction. The Banker 
Valuable as are some of his lyrics, drawn p°®* 
from the life of city and nation, his chief contribution 
to our literature is likely to be the magnificent body 
of criticism contained in "The Victorian Poets," 
" The Poets of America," and " The Nature and Ele- 
ments of Poetry." These three volumes, the last of 
which was originally presented as a course of lectures 
at Johns Hopkins University, constitute a critical 
history of English poetry in the nineteenth century, 
supplemented appropriately by a profound treatise on 
the theory and practice of the poetic art. For 



406 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

breadth, thoroughness, and completeness, we have 
nothing to surpass or to equal this work. 

As a critic, Stedman is clear and incisive in analy- 
sis, sympathetic in appreciation, almost unerring in 
discriminating the beautiful and artistic, eminently 
sane and just in his conclusions, always stimulating 
and helpful. He does not possess the style of Lowell, 
nor the rich creative thought and under- 
flow of humor, but he has the compensat- 
ing power — which Lowell did not have — to plan 
and execute a systematic scheme of critical work, 
maintaining throughout the whole a remarkable certi- 
tude and equipoise of judgment. If he has a fault, it 
is in being too kind, at times enveloping his subject 
in. "a golden atmosphere of generous appreciation" 
that tends to obscure rather than disclose the naked 
truth. For any serious study of modern poetry, 
these volumes of critical essays are now indispensable. 
As a poet, Stedman has not kept faith with the 
public or himself, for his early poetry was full of 
promise. It showed the modern composite spirit, sen- 
sitive to the appeal of culture in every form, and a 
strict regard for artistic workmanship. His gift was 
lyrical, and his most popular poems are 
the patriotic lyrics called forth by the war. 
In the dark days of 1862, when the Federal armies 
were falling back in defeat and the Northern heart 
was heavy with discouragement, Stedman's " Wanted 
— A Man " rang out like a trumpet call. 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 407 

Give us a man of God's own mold, 

Born to marshal his fellow-men ; 
One whose fame is not bought and sold 

At the stroke of a politician's pen ; 

Give us the man of thousands ten, 
Fit to do as well as to plan ; 

Give us a rallying-cry, and then, 
Abraham Lincoln, give us a Man. 

His lyrics in lighter vein, such as ''Pan in Wall 
Street," " Country Sleighing," and '' Toujours Amour," 
graceful, musical, and humorous, must continue to be 
favorites. And of the serious poems, "Hawthorne" 
is still the noblest poetic tribute paid to the memory 
of " The One New-Englander," a poem in which the 
author's critical and imaginative faculties are seen in 
happy combination; descriptive analysis and poetry 
are finely blended in such stanzas as this : — 

Two natures in him strove 
Like day with night, his sunshine and his gloom. 

To him the stern forefathers' creed descended. 
The weight of some inexorable Jove 
Prejudging from the cradle to the tomb ; 

But therewithal the lightsome laughter blended 
Of that Arcadian sweetness imdismayed 

Which finds in Love its law, and graces still 
The rood, the penitential symbol worn, — 

Which sees, beyond the shade, 

The Naiad nymph of every rippling rill, 
And hears quick Fancy wind her willful horn. 

Class Reading. — How Old Brown took Harper's Ferry ; Pan 
in Wall Street ; Wanted — A Man ; Gettysburg ; Kearny 
at Seven Pines ; Cavalry Song ; Toujours Amour ; Laura, My 



408 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Darling ; Surf ; Song from a Drama ; Hawthorne ; The Dis- 
coverer ; The Undiscovered Country ; The Hand of Lincoln ; 
Creole Lover's Song ; Guests at Yule. 

Biography and Criticism. — Vedder's "American Writers." 
Bolton's " Famous American Authors." Richardson's "Ameri- 
can Literature." Taylor's "Essays and Notes." Bookman 
July, 1896 (Hamilton W. Mabie). Halsey's "American 
Authors and Their Homes. ' ' Stoddard's ' ' To Edmund Clarence 
Stedman." 

RICHARD WATSON GILDER 

1844- 

The term "minor poet" always implies a more or 
less invidious comparison, especially when applied to 
the younger poets who may yet place themselves among 
the great ones. Then, too, one true poem is enough 
to make a poet, as shown in the case of Gray. But it 
is difficult so to refine the critical faculty as to see that 
ultimate rank is determined, not by bulk or promi- 
nence, but by quality. Among the later poets who 
have promises to fulfill is Richard Watson Gilder, the 
accomplished editor of the Century Magazine, whose 
first volume, " The New Day " (1875), revealed a poet 
A Poet of of refined feeling and delicate workman- 
Refinement gi^ip suggestive of a literary kinship with 
Aldrich. Of this volume and the second collection, 
" The Poet and his Master," Stedman says : " Each is 
a cluster of flawless poems, — the earlier verse marked 
by the mystical beauty, intense emotion, and psycho- 
logical distinctions of the select illuminati. He appears 
to have studied closely, besides the most ideal English 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 409 

verse, the Italian sonnets and canzoni which ever 
deeply impress a poet of exquisite feeling. An indi- 
vidual tone dominates his maturer lyrical efforts ; his 
aim is choice and high, as should be that of one who 
decides upon the claims of others." 

Class Reading. — The Sonnet ; " Rose Dark the Solemn Sun- 
set"; Love's Jealousy; The Voice of the Pine; Music and 
Words; How Paderewski Plays; The Sower; "Fades the 
Rose"; On the Life Mask of Abraham Lincoln. 

Associated with the metropolitan poets by kindred tastes or 
personal friendship are several verse-makers, who deserve some 
studious attention for the sake of a few notable poems that we 
could not afford to lose. With Taylor are associated three 
Pennsylvania poets. Thomas Buchanan Read (1822-1872), 
painter, as well as poet, will always be known by 
his "Sheridan's Ride," although other poems, ^^^^ 
like " Drifting," better prove his qualities. George 
Henry Boker (182.3-1890) won the almost unique distinction in 
America of writing plays of real literary merit, one of which 
at least, "Francesca da Rimini," has attained wide success 
upon the stage. Charles Godfrey Leland (1824- ), an au- 
thority upon gypsy lore, is known chiefly as the author of the 
" Hans Breitman Ballads," written in the dialect of the Penn- 
sylvania Dutch. 

The older writers in New York still recall the delightful liter- 
ary receptions at the home of Alice (1820-1871) and Phoebe 
(1824-1871) Gary, whose poems of sentiment and the domestic 
affections are sweet and tender, if not highly poetical. One of 
Phoebe's earliest poems, " Nearer Home " (" One sweetly solemn 
thought") has reached a world-wide popularity. Somewhat 
similar is the work of Mrs. Julia Ward Howe (1819- ), the 
author of our great war lyric, the ' ' Battle Hymn of the Repub- 
lic." This poem recalls another patriotic singer, who has been 
unworthily neglected, the author of the "Bay Fight," Henry 



410 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Howard Brownell (1820-1872), whose "fine Norse-hearted 
poems " Lowell commended. Among the later poets of the 
metropolis who are distinguished especially for the art sense, is 
Edgar Fawcett (1847- ), whose collections of verses, "Fan- 
tasy and Passion " and " Song and Story," are likely to outlive 
his many works of fiction. The dramatic critic, graceful essay- 
ist and poet, William Winter (1836- ), shows in his little 
collection, " Wanderers " (1888), a sweet and true lyric spirit, 
summoned to its most felicitous expression in elegiac and com- 
memorative verses. He may be justly regarded as belonging, 
as he himself desires, " to that old school of English lyrical 
poetry, of which gentleness is the soul and simplicity is the 
garment." 

Among poets affected predominantly by the life of large 
cities, there is a natural tendency to cultivate that graceful 
form of poetry, called somewhat vaguely, " Vers de Socidt^." 
Poems of this type must be short, refined, and fanciful ; play- 
ful rather than serious in tone, though often sounding notes of 
pathos and the deeper sentiments ; crisp and 
Socet' sparkling in rhythm, with frequent rhymes ; seem- 

ingly spontaneous, though fashioned with deft and 
delicate workmanship ; touching lightly the gay, fashionable, 
brilliant, trivial, humorous, or sober topics that make up the 
staple of social converse. In London, Praed, Locker, Thack- 
eray, Calverley, and Dobson represent this art of elegant 
trifling with verse, and in America its perfect master is Dr. 
Holmes. John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887), once a familiar 
figure in New York society, wrote humorous and popular verse, 
much of which was in this vein. Such verse is well repre- 
sented by Aldrich's "On an Intaglio Head of Minerva," Sted- 
man's "Toujours Amour," Lowell's "Without and Within." 
Several of the younger verse-makers have shown a delightful 
aptitude for these dainty trifles, adopting often the old French 
forms, the ballade, rondeau, triolet, and vilanelle. Such are 
H. C. Bunner's "Airs from Arcady," Samuel Minturn Peck's 
"Cap and Bells," Frank Dempster Sherman's "Madrigals and 
Catches," and Clinton Scollard's " With Reed and Lyre." 



ix] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 411 



THE ESSAYISTS 

The essay as a distinct form of literary expression 
has been seriously affected, if not almost effaced, by 
modern journalism. In place of the deliberate, 
thoughtful, and artistic treatment of topics vitally 
related to the pursuits or convictions of the writers, 
we have " articles," sketchy, gossipy, critical, statistical, 
or paradoxical — anything to catch public attention 
and fill the time between railway stations. Too gener- 
ally, the studious essayist has given way to 
the trained journalist, who watches the in- and jour- 
clinations of the public, as a sailor watches "^^^^"* 
a shifty wind, guiding his pen, not by his own inde- 
pendent and sincere thinking, but by the ej)hemeral 
and spasmodic thinking of the multitudes for whom 
he caters. Such writers develop remarkable alertness 
and versatility, and dash off "timely" articles for the 
daily newspapers or the monthly magazine with skill, 
and often with suggestions of literary qualities. But 
little of this writing survives as literature. A pathetic 
illustration of this prodigal use of the literary gift is 
seen in the meager prose product of Taylor and Stod- 
dard, hundreds of whose articles passed swiftly into 
oblivion with the event that called them forth. 

Essays may be loosely classified as critical, historical, 
and miscellaneous. The first class is represented by 
Matthew Arnold and Lowell. Since Stedman's two 
priceless volumes, we have had little of worth in this 



412 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

class, for the perfunctory "book-review" seldom 
reaches the dignity of criticism. For the second class 
Three stands Macaulay, with whom thus far we 

Classes have no one in America to keep fellowship. 

The third class includes the versatile and vivacious 
writers who treat with ease and grace social, moral, 
aesthetic, literary, or humorous themes, wisely but 
not learnedly, with a light touch, but with a sure pur- 
pose, aiming at the human rather than the intellectual 
side of life. Between the " Spectator '' and the "Auto- 
crat" there is a true kinship, notwithstanding the 
intervening range and variety of essay writing. The 
philosophical essays of Emerson hardly constitute a 
class, being in reality a system of philosophy in frag- 
ments, and their chief influence being exerted inde- 
pendently of their philosophy. 

The periodical essay of the eighteenth-century type 
was attempted in Dana's "Idle Man," Irving's "Sal- 
magundi," and Mitchell's " Lorgnette." But with the 
growth of the monthly magazines the essay naturally 
took its place with poems and stories in the monthly 
menu. In the early days of the monthlies, the 
days of Putnam^s Magazine, the Galaxy, and the 
The Atlantic, before the "process" picture 

Magazines j^^d been discovered and the "illustrated" 
magazine with text written to illustrate the illustra- 
tions had been devised, authors contributed to the 
periodicals essays from their richest literary resources. 
A^d to the magazines we still have to look, among the 



IX] 



THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 



413 



pictures and the " timely " sensations, for occasional 
essays of the true type. Among the essayists espe- 
cially associated with the magazines, a unique and com- 
manding position was held by George William Curtis, 
the lineal literary descendant of Addison, Lamb, and 
Irving. 

GEORGE WILLIAM CURTIS 

1824-1892 

Like so many of the New York writers, Curtis was 
a New Englander, born in Providence in 1824. Eem- 
iniscences of his early 
school-days at Jamaica 
Plain, near Boston, appear 
in his novel " Trumps." At 
fifteen New York became 
his permanent home. Two 
years, from eighteen to 
twenty, he spent at Brook 
Farm, having imbibed the 
idealism of the Transcen- 
dentalists from Emerson's 
lectures. Here he studied 
German and music with 
great zest, drove the cows 
with Hawthorne, trimmed the lamps at the " Eyrie," 
and with chivalrous courtesy hung out the clothes for 
the women on stormy washing days in winter. The 
qualities that characterized,, Jiis whole life .WQr€ im- 




George William Curtis 



414 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

pressed at this time upon the memories of his com- 
panions, generous-heartedness, refinement, zeal for 
Educational knowledge and culture, sane and eager 
Experiences idealism. The elegance of his personal 
manners is recalled, and his personal beauty — the 
beauty of a " young Greek god." 

The influence of Emerson drew him to Concord, 
where he spent a year, dividing his time between 
farming and study, and confirming his ideals of life by 
contact with the poets and philosophers who gathered 
weekly in Emerson's library. Here he would wander, 
he says, " in the soft, sunny spring, in the silent Con- 
cord meadows," or sit " in the great, cool barn through 
the long, still, golden afternoons, and read the history 
of Rome." His "budding hopes" were now turning 
toward the Old World, and in 1846 he went to Europe, 
and there spent four years, including Palestine and 
the Nile in his studious and leisurely wanderings. 
This experience, which closed the formative period of 
his life, was an admirable preparation for the broad 
career awaiting him in the promotion of culture. " I 
find that my European life," he noted in his diary, 
"has taught me a cosmopolitanism which I could 
never have learned at home." 

The literary career of Curtis began upon his return 
from Europe with the publication in 1851 of the " Nile 
Notes of a Howadji," followed by "The Howadji in 
Syria." Hawthorne wrote : " I see now that you are 
forever an author." So it proved, for the pen was 



ix] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 415 

never afterward laid aside. In these books, he says, 
" I aimed to represent the essentially sensuous, luxu- 
rious, languid, and sense-satisfying spirit Beginning of 
of Eastern life," and to this purpose he Authorship 
adapted the style, ornate to excess, brilliant with an 
artificial beauty, like the scenery of a stage-play, 
appropriate however to the romantic scenes for which 
it serves as a background or reflecting medium. The 
language is like a fabric of Persian colors, shot with 
tinsel of gold, and charged with the perfume of cassia 
and magnolia bloom. It was the first flower of rich, 
imaginative youth, opening under the warm, sense- 
charming influences of the East. Associated with 
these books, through the title and somewhat also in 
the style, was " Lotus-Eating," a series of light 
sketches of the fashionable American summer resorts, 
interesting still as a picture of social life now extinct. 
In 1853 came the "Potiphar Papers," a "Potiphar 
caustic satire upon the ostentatious society ff^g" ' 
of the period in New York. Three years andi" 
later appeared " Prue and I," a '^ singularly perfect 
production," the graceful and luminous expression of 
an ideal philosophy for everyday use. The separate 
papers first appeared in Putnam^s Magazine, and a 
contemporary thus recalls them : " When we received 
one of them we chirruped over it, as if by some 
strange merit of our own we had entrapped a sun- 
beam." And readers will still find sunbeams in this 
delicious little volume of old-fashioned wisdom. Here 



416 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

was the real Curtis as he was ever after known and 
loved in literature and life; here we recognize the 
gentle smile, the melodious voice, the easy urbanity 
and incomparable gentlemanliness of the philosopher 
of the " Easy Chair." Here, too, the writing reached 
perfection. "The opulence and extravagance of the 
^Howadji' books disappear; but the rich imagination, 
the sportive fancy, the warm and life-giving senti- 
ment, the broad philosophy are expressed in a style 
of singular beauty, flexibility, and strength." Here 
was the fine-grained, large-hearted champion of the 
true, the pure, and the good, of whom Lowell wrote : — 

Whose humor's honeyed ease 
Flows flecked with gold of thought, 

Whose generous mind 
Sees Paradise regained by all mankind. 

Curtis took charge of the " Easy Chair " in Harper^ s 
Monthly in 1854, and became editor of Harper^s Weekly 
in 1863 ; these positions he held uninterruptedly until 
his death in 1892 ; the first was in line with his 
development as a student and man of letters, the sec- 
ond represented a totally different field in which a 

large part of his energy was spent, the 
A Reformer , , -.. . . . .. / , 

work 01 political reform. He early be- 
came a popular lyceum lecturer, and took an active 
part in the antislavery agitation. He then became a 
reformer, and a reformer he remained all his life. 
The second volume of " Orations and Addresses " is 
perhaps the most important record of recent political 



ix] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 417 

life in America that we possess. It contains the 
finest addresses of Curtis upon the subject of political 
reform, to which he gave the best of his thought and 
energy during the last twenty years of his life ; and 
it might well serve as a national textbook of political 
right-mindedness. Curtis was made chairman of the 
first Civil Service Commission, appointed by Presi- 
dent Grant, and from that time he was the recognized 
leader of the civil service reform movement. For this 
new cause he fought as he had fought for emancipa- 
tion, believing the tyranny of the politician second 
only to the tyranny of the slave driver in its baneful 
effects upon public morals and national character. In 
his public addresses he always aimed " to set forth a 
high ideal, to apply it to some duty actually pressing, 
and to stir and strengthen the hearts of his hearers 
for the task the duty imposed." He was an idealist, 
but his idealism was tempered by a well-informed 
judgment that placed more importance upon the im- 
provement of actual conditions than upon the creation 
of ideal conditions. " Zealous he was," says his bi- 
ographer, " in the noblest and completest fashion, but 
never a zealot, not blind nor rash, nor obstinate, nor 
conceited. He was as anxious to be right as he was 
determined in what, with an open mind, he had de- 
cided to be right." 

Unlike most political orations Curtis^s orations are 
literature, full of the fruits of scholarship, permeated 
with the literary spirit, and composed in a style care- 

2£ 



418 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

fully jJolished, yet free from every artifice of the " ora- 
torical '^ manner. He aimed at effects through the 

simple impression of thought ; hence there 
Orations . , . , 

is no loss m the reading except the per- 
suasive charm of the speaker' s personality, the sense 
of sincerity and fairness expressed in his manner, and 
the power of an exquisite voice modulated like a musi- 
cal instrument to every varying tone of thought and 
sentiment. Among his finest public addresses are 
those delivered upon memorial occasions, such as the 
splendid tribute to Lowell, his last public utterance. 

Curtis's literary influence was exerted mainly 
through those unique and charming chats from the 
" Easy Chair." Art, music, literature, history, higher 
politics, society shams, personal anecdote, and remi- 
niscence, furnished topics. They are lay-sermons in 
little, always gracious and graceful, abounding in 
wholesome criticism, sound sense, and true feeling, 
always stimulating the impulses toward a higher life 
of refinement and culture. The style is the style of 
' ' The Easy the man, talking easily with his thousands 
Chair ' ' ^f listeners, with candor and courtesy, with 

a fine respect for the susceptibilities of his hearers, 
teaching and preaching without betraying any signs 
of teacher or preacher, always serious yet always 
genial. No reader ever entered the presence of the 
" Easy Chair " without feeling the effects of a peculiar 
warm, sunny, inspiring atmosphere of refinement. 
Hundreds of these little essays were written during 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 419 

a period of more than thirty-five years, but it was the 
severe judgment of the author that only a few were 
worthy of republication in permanent form. Three 
small volumes have been selected "From the Easy 
Chair." These with three volumes of " Orations and 
Addresses," and a volume of "Literary and Social 
Essays" represent his maturer literary labors. One 
feels it to be a pity that such gifts did not find 
broader literary expression in permanent form. His 
patriotism compelled him to subordinate literature, 
yet the effect of his literary work, though diffused and 
indefinable, has nevertheless been real. "He ren- 
dered to American literature," says Gary, "a service 
unrecognized and untraceable, but singularly, perhaps 
uniquely, great." 

Class Reading. — Priie and I; Essays from the Easy Chair, 
First Series ; Oration on Wendell Phillips. 

Biography and Criticism. — Gary's " Life of George William 
Curtis" (American Men of Letters). William Winter's 
"George William Curtis: A Eulogy." Chadwick's "George 
William Curtis." Godwin's "Commemorative Addresses." 
Howells's "My Literary Passions." Lowell's "Epistle to 
George William Curtis." Cranch's "To G.W.C." 

THOMAS WENTWORTH HIGGINSON 

1823- 

Associated with Curtis through a moral and literary 
kinship is Thomas Went worth Higginson, a loyal son 
of Massachusetts, the inheritor of some of the best 



420 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

virtues, as well as two of the best names of the 
Puritans. Like Curtis, Higginson received from the 
Transcendentalists a strong impulse toward idealism 

and reform. Throughout his varied career 
A Reformer 

as an extreme antislavery agitator, Unita- 
rian minister, colonel of the first black regiment in 
the Civil War, champion of woman's rights, popular 
lecturer, historian, essayist, poet, — in every form of 
public activity or literary industry his work exhibits 
the lofty spiritual ideals that characterize the Cam- 
bridge group of writers with whom he was associated 
in lifelong and friendly companionship. 

Higginson remarks somewhere that " positive force 
of writing or of speech must come from positive 
sources — ardor, energy, depth of feeling or of 
Literary thought." This force, together with an 

"^°'^ admirable style, is found in his essays, 

" Out-door Papers," " Atlantic Essays," and " Oldport 
Days," and in his excellent novel of New England 
life, " Malbone, an Oldport Komance." In these vol- 
umes there is a pleasant and healthy mingling of the 
beauties of nature with the beauties of books. Essen- 
tially a man of letters, yet he seeks his best inspira- 
tion in the fields and woods from the "sculptured 
chalices of the mountain laurel" and the "clear, calm, 
interrupted chant of the wood-thrush, falling like 
solemn waterdrops from some source above." His 
many volumes, into the latest of which, especially, 
is written much of himself and of the history of his 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 421 

time, as in "Cheerful Yesterdays" and "Contempo- 
raries," though lacking the element of greatness, are 
sure of a place among the best on our shelves, by 
virtue of their conscientious fidelity to high standards 
of literature and life. 

Class Reading. — The ' Procession of the Flowers ; April 
Days ; A Charge with Prince Rupert ; The Puritan Minister. 



CHARLES DUDLEY WARNER 

1829-1900 

One of our most popular essayists is Charles Dudley 
Warner, who in the intervals of leisure permitted 
by a long editorial career produced a dozen volumes 
of prose possessing a distinctive flavor that always 
pleases the cultivated taste. He was born in Plain- 
field, Mass., in 1829, graduated from Hamilton College, 
practiced law a few years in Chicago, and in 1860 
became the editor of the Hartford Press (afterward 
the Courant). In 1870 appeared "My Summer in a 
Garden," a book which, as the London Humorous 
Quarterly generously admitted, "Charles Assays 
Lamb might have written if he had had a garden." 
Its finished style, illusive suggestiveness, and delicate 
humor fixed the author's reputation at once as an 
American humorist of the higher type. " Saunter- 
ings " followed in 1872, a collection of graphic Euro- 
pean sketches, in which, as Whipple said, "he not 



422 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

merely addresses his readers; he takes them with 
him.'^ His first literary triumph was repeated with 
" Backlog Studies," a series of sparkling conversations 
in the light of the evening fire, on love, literature, 
and questions of the day. 

Warner's descriptions of travel, in his own and 
other lands, are characterized by the bright and play- 
ful fancy and genial humor of the essays. " My Win- 
ter on the Nile " and " In the Levant " belong with 
Books of the " Howadji " books of Curtis. One feels 
Travel; ^^ reading his autobiographic "Being a 

Humor Boy," that it was well worth while to have 

endured the austerities of a Puritan boyhood in order 
to be enabled to write such a book. The "Life of 
Washington Irving" is a judicious piece of biographi- 
cal and critical work of much value. His last books, 
the novels " Their Pilgrimage," " A Little Journey in 
the World," and "The Golden House," though pos- 
sessing the characteristic graces of his earlier manner, 
in the lack of constructive power and in the interest 
of detached scenes, show that the most natural vehicle 
of his thought was the essay. As a humorist his quali- 
ties, as defined by Richardson, make his place secure 
among humorists of the finest type. " His humor is 
not wit ; he pleases by the diffused light which illu- 
minates his writings on various themes, not by any 
startling or sensational effect. American humor, as 
displayed in his masterpiece, ' My Summer in a Gar- 
den,' is shown in its better estate, Warner's Intel- 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 423 

lectual kinship is with Irving, Curtis, and Holmes, 
not with Artemus Ward or Mark Twain." 

Class Reading. — My Summer in a Garden ; Backlog Studies. 

DONALD GRANT MITCHELL 
1822 

A pleasant aroma hangs about the queer signature 
^•Ik Marvel," like that of crushed rose petals in an 
old volume of poetry. The " Eeveries of a Bachelor " 
and "Dream Life," lightly connected sketches and 
reminiscences in the form of essays rather than of 
stories, are books for the young of all ^pig^sant 
ages. If they are somewhat old-fashioned sentiment- 
in style and sentiment, they are still inter- 
esting to every one who is not ashamed of indulging 
the softer side of his nature occasionally with fancy 
and feeling. They are summer afternoon books, full 
of the romance, sentiment, and dreamy, rose-hued 
thoughts of youth; out of tune with the realistic 
literature of to-day, but ever in tune with genuine, 
imaginative, and spontaneous natures, uncontaminated 
by the bitterness and disillusionments of real life. 

Donald G. Mitchell began his literary career with 
the satirical sketches of New York society in the 
" Lorgnette," in the manner of the " Potiphar Papers." 
He early chose the life of country quiet, building his 
home, "Edgewood," on a farm near New Haven, 
Conn., and combining the love pf bopks and the 



424 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

love of nature in practical farming. "My Farm of 
Edgewood/' "Wet Days at Edgewood," and "Rural 
Studies " are the literary product of this bucolic life. 
Some one has called him "the Horatian classic of 
American letters." His chatty volumes of "English 
Lands, Letters, and Kings " and " American Lands and 
Letters," while of little value as original contributions 
to literature, are pleasing records of the literary di- 
versions of one who in old age does not lose any of 
his young enthusiasm for books. In spirit and style 
Mitchell belongs to the school of Irving. "There is 
the same genial, sympathetic attitude toward his 
readers ; the same tenderness of feeling ; and in style 
that gentle elaboration, and that careful, liigh-bred 
English which contrasts so strikingly with the 
brusque, nervous manner now in fashion." 

Class Reading. — Reveries of a Bachelor ; Wet Days at 
Edgewood. 

To the period of sentimental and didactic writing belong the 
voluminous works of Josiah Gilbert Holland, the first editor of 
, Scribner''s Monthly. He wrote pleasant stories in 
Honand'^^^'* verse, — " Bitter Sweet" and " Katrina," — and 
181Q-1881 pleasant novels, — "Arthur Bonnicastle " and 

" Sevenoaks," — and several volumes of essays of 
a mild didactic character, such as " Timothy Titcomb's Letters 
to Young People," "Lessons in Life," "Gold-foil hammered 
from Popular Proverbs." He moralized everything that he 
wrote, using a simple and homely style, befitting the common- 
place topics of his essays and the common-place people to whom 
he addressed himself. For a time his works were immensely 
popular, and nothing better marks the swift change of literary 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 425 

tastes and ideals within a single generation than the compara- 
tive oblivion into which Holland's works have fallen. 

Criticism was for many years vigorously represented in 
the magazines by Richard Grant White (1821-1885), whose 
"Shakspere's Scholar," "Studies in Shakspere," "Words 
and Their Uses," and "Everyday English" show 
a lively aptitude for bookish discussion, the value Q^^^^^^g^ 
of which is often sacrificed to the author's self- 
assertiveness. White's chief service to Shaksperian criticism 
was in rebuking the excesses of annotation and conjectural 
readings. A more sane and helpful Shaksperian critic was 
Henry Norman Hudson (1814-1886), whose "Life, Art, and 
Characters of Shakspere" is a standard work of great value. 
The greatest monument to American esteem for Shakspere is 
Horace Howard Furness's "Variorum" edition of the plays, 
Lounsbury's (1838- ) scholarly and exhaustive " Studies in 
Chaucer" shows the high standard reached in philological 
work. Philology is finely represented by James Hadley's 
(1821-1872) " Essays, Philological and Critical," and by 
William Dwight Whitney's (1827-1894) "Oriental and Lin- 
guistic Studies " and " The Life and Growth of Language." In 
the wider field of criticism Edwin Percy Whipple (1819-1886) 
stands quite alone as a writer who made criticism his profes- 
sional life-work. He gave dignity and scholarly worth to 
American critical writing, and such volumes as "Literature 
of the Age of Elizabeth," "Literature and Life," and "Ameri- 
can Literature and Other Papers " are eminent for clear analy- 
sis, pointed and vigorous style, and sane judgment. Although 
literary criticism tends to deteriorate into the hasty "book 
reviewing," and no writer now devotes himself to this form of 
writing with the exclusive thoroughness of Whipple or Stedman, 
yet its seriousness as a department of prose writing is sustained 
by an occasional volume, exhibiting scholarly care in analysis 
and interpretation. Such are Henry James's "French Poets 
and Novelists," Howells's "Modern Italian Poets," Boyesen's 
"Essays on German Literature," Lodge's "Historical and 
Political Essays," au4 Woodberry's " Makers of Literature." 



426 



AMERICAN LITERATURE 



[chap. 



WALT WHITMAN 



1819-1892 




To the metroj)olitan group of writers may as well be 
assigned the unclassifiable and unprecedented writer, 

Walt Whitman, who called 
himself a " Manhattanese," 
and boastfully claimed to 
be a representative of the 
nation, whom a few devoted 
followers regard as a prod- 
igy of genius, and whom the 
greater number of his readers 
regard as a prodigious liter- 
ary freak. A study of this 
unsatisfactory personality 
affords a valuable lesson in 
the fallibility and perversity 
of literary criticism. Bur- 
roughs declares Whitman to 
be "the most imposing and significant figure in our 

^ ^ ^, literary annals," and a more recent critic 

A Trouble- -^ ' 

some sees in him ^'a most horrid mountebank 

and ego-maniac" who " has given utterance 
to the soul of the tramp"; Stedman numbers him 
"among the foremost lyric and idyllic poets," while 
Lanier finds him to be merely "poetry's butcher," 
who offers as food only " huge raw collops cut from 



Walt Whitman 



ix] THE METEOPOLITAN WRITERS 427 

tlie rump of poetry, and never mind gristle." We 
might, perhaps, without serious violence to our record, 
take Whitman at his word when he warns his readers 
not to regard his verses " as a literary performance, or 
attempt at such performance." But such is the per- 
sistency with which the quality of greatness has been 
thrust upon him by eminent writers whose critical 
sanity is elsewhere above suspicion, it is necessary to 
reckon with this singular character and set forth if 
possible his true qualities. 

Whitman's writing was in a peculiar way an inti- 
mate part of his life. " I celebrate myself, and sing 
myself," he veraciously declared. He was born at 
West Hills, Long Island, in 1819, and died in Cam- 
den, ]Sr. J., in 1892. From early years his life seems to 
have been a free and easy one, unrestrained ^ vagrant 
by social duties or professional ambition. ^^*® 
" I loaf and invite my soul," he says, ^' I lean and loaf 
at my ease." He learned printing and carpentry ; 
lived some years in Brooklyn, where he built houses 
and wrote for the newspapers ; roamed extensively in 
the streets of New York, and studied metropolitan 
life from the top of a Broadway omnibus. He made 
an extended trip on foot through the South and West 
and Canada. During the war he served in the army 
hospitals, where exposure brought on a severe illness 
from the effects of which he never fully recovered. 
From 1865 to 1874 he held a government clerkship in 
Washington, and thereafter spent his remaining years 



428 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

at Camden in easy penury and the quiet enjoyment of 
fame as " the good gray poet." 

" Leaves of Grass " first appeared in 1855, and under 
this title all of his poetical work is now collected. 
The new poet made his theatrical debut, thus heralding 
himself: — 

No dainty dolce affettuoso I. 

Bearded, sunburnt, gray-necked, forbidding, I have arrived, 
To be wrestled with as I pass for the solid prizes of the uni- 
verse. 

And to the spotted hawk swooping across his vision 
he cries ecstatically : — 

I too am not a bit tamed, I too am untranslatable, 

I sound my barbaric yawp over the roofs of the world. 

A few readers, startled by this strange sound, looked 
into the book, found its crudeness and vulgarity " un- 
translatable " indeed, and it dropped out of notice. 
A Would-be I^^^t new editions appeared, and disciples of 
Reformer ^]^g j-^g^ prophet arose, and his advertise- 
ment began in spirited critical controversy. Whitman 
proclaimed himself a literary reformer, and, like the 
reformers of the French revolution who to make way 
for their new republic abolished all existing institu- 
tions from the calendar to the Almighty, he abolished 
all conventions of art, morals, and religion, renouncing 
all poetry and poetic principles precedent to his own. 
And with this result : — 

Land of the ocean shores ! land of sierras and peaks 1 
Land of boatmen and sailors ! fishermen's land ! 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 429 

Inextricable lands ! the clutched together ! the passionate 
ones ! 

The side by side ! the elder and younger brothers ! the 
bony-limbed ! 

The great women's land ! the feminine ! the experienced 
sisters and the inexperienced sisters ! 

Far breath' d land ! Arctic braced ! Mexican breez'd ! the 
diverse ! the compact ! 

The Fennsylvanian ! the Virginian ! the double Caro- 
linian ! 

O all and each well loved by me ! my intrepid nations ! O I 
at any rate include you all with perfect love ! 

To accept this as poetry requires us to readjust our 
ideas of the fundamental principles of poetry as they 
have existed since Homer. Burroughs, the most elo- 
quent and persuasive apologist of Whitman in America, 
admits that " Leaves of Grass " is " bound to be a 
shock'' to the majority of readers which he "would 
fain lessen." But great art needs no apol- His Apoio- 
ogy. Whitman's motive — so far as he s^®*^ 
could have had any conscious artistic motive — is for- 
mulated for him by Stedman : " He has been feeling 
after the irregular, various harmonies of nature, the 
anthem of the winds, the roll of the surges, the count- 
less laughter of the ocean waves. He tries to catch 
this 'undermelody and rhythm.'" Granting this, it 
would be difficult to force even a fraction of his un- 
measured word-meanderings into any sort of accord 
with the rhythmic beat of nature's melodies. It is too 
palpable a paradox to assert that his egotistical assault 
upon poetic principle was an inspiration from the " liar- 



430 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

monies of nature." Indeed in view of his undoubted 

love for nature, it was cruel that his prayer — "Give 

me, nature, your primal sanities " — should not have 

been more plenteously answered. 

Bayard Taylor's early judgment of Whitman still 

serves as a fair summary of the man and his poetry : 

" Yes, there is something in him, but he is a man of 

colossal egotism." There is something stimulating in 

his intense Americanism, and in his all-embracing 

faith in the future of democracy. There is something 

in his contention for individualism, and 
His Merits . n 11- 

the complementary notion oi comradeship, 

" a superb friendship," which is to unite all classes 
when brought into perfect harmony on the plane of 
the " average man." There is something of real force 
and value in his peculiar eruptive descriptions, espe- 
cially of nature, " flashes of reality " in which he 
records genuine experience. As an epithet maker his 
admirers call him Homeric. His diction, as Stedman 
notes, when "on its good behavior, is copious and 
strong, full of surprises, utilizing the brave, homely 
words of the people." There are lines and passages, 
and, in his later work, whole pieces that are poetical 
in all but form. Such is " The Mystic Trumpeter," 
and such the opening invocation of "From Noon to 
Starry Night " : — 

Thou orb aloft all-dazzling ! thou hot October noon ! 
Flooding with sheeny light the gray beach sand, 
The sibilant near sea with vistas far and foam, 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 431 

And tawny streaks and shades and spreading blue ; 
O sun of noon refulgent ! my special word to thee. 

The war experience served somewhat to ennoble 
Whitman's life and purify his writing, for out of it 
came his nearest approaches to poetic feeling and ex- 
pression of the highest order. In " Drum Taps " is 

his finest work. Here are the Lincoln 

War Poetry- 
memorial poems, " Captain, My Cap- 
tain," and " When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard 
Bloom'd," which Stedman in a moment of ardent 
admiration declares to be " exquisitely idyllic " and 
worthy of a place beside Lowell's "Commemoration 
Ode." It is noteworthy that his best work always 
conforms most nearly to the established laws of poetry. 
" Captain, My Captain," the only poem that has 
reached real popularity, contains all the technical 
features of verse except rhyme. 

Whitman's excellences, however, seem to be lapses 
from the normal effort of his mind. He was the 
victim of his own theories; the poetry in his nature 
was submerged in egotism. His ignorance and un- 
couthness must not be mistaken for primordial sim- 
plicity and hirsute strength. In spite of his boasted 
cosmic breadth he is narrow; his ideas are few and 
repeated excessively. His long processions of dis- 

iointed sentences, sweeping over vast areas 

•^ ; x- o J His Dements 

of unrelated facts, are not to be accepted 

as broad vistas of nature and life. The thought is in- 
coherent, and what looks like profundity is often little 



432 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

short of inanity. The crude inadequacy of his repre- 
sentation of ideal democracy will be recognized by a 
comparison of his chantings with Lowell's address on 
" Democracy." Of society in a broad sense he knew 
little; a few common types, sailors, printers, team- 
sters and stage drivers he knew perfectly. Refine- 
ment did not attract him, and scholarship he flouted. 
It is a tenet of modern realism that the common and 
vulgar are to be exalted into the realm of art without 
the circumambient atmosphere of ideality. In the 
lower atmosphere of realism Whitman lived and had 
his being. He was utterly devoid of humor, or he 
would have been spared pages of grotesque common- 
place. 

The boatmen and clam-diggers arose early and stopt for 

me, 
I tuck'd my trouser-ends in my boots and went and had a 

good time. 

His realism is often animalism. To him all physical 
functions are divine and fit subjects for poetry; hence 
some of his " savage songs " are without the modesty 
and taste usually found among savages. His plain- 
ness is only nakedness ; of the real significance of the 
nude in art he had no comprehension. " I believe in 
the flesh and the appetites," is the beginning and the 
end of his creed. 

The chief difliculty in accounting for Whitman is to 
take him seriously. The conviction is forced upon 
one that at the outset of his career as a literary re- 



IX] THE METROPOLITAN WRITERS 433 

former he was a poseur, striking strange attitudes 
before the public to secure a sensational celebrity. 
He had been writing poetry of the ordinary ^ Probable 
type and stories in readable prose. But Explanation 
this work brought him no fame, being of only moder- 
ate merit ; hence he would compel fame by an impu- 
dent experiment upon the reading public, adding to 
the effect by always appearing upon the streets with 
slouch hat and open-necked flannel shirt. Flattered 
by the praise of Emerson and a few others, and stimu- 
lated by criticism, he soon became confirmed in his 
affectations. Special vindication came from certain 
English writers who, listening for some strange note 
in accord with their preconceived notions of what our 
" native wood-notes wild " should be, found their ideal 
in Whitman ; to their minds the " howling wilderness 
of American democracy " now had its poet. 

What may be the final effect of Whitman's work is 
still a matter of critical controversy. He wished to 
be the people's poet, but the people will have none of 
him. The true people's poets are Longfellow and 
Whittier. Under his sham and vulgarity there is un- 
questionably a vein of native ore that is critical 
worth working with patience. Gosse sum- verdicts 
marizes him as " literature in the condition of proto- 
plasm," and his amorphous chantings as "poems in 
solution." Stevenson, in an essay of temperate admi- 
ration, concludes that "a great part of his work, con- 
sidered as verse, is poor, bald stuff; considered; not 

2£< 



434 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap, x 

as verse, but as speech, a great part of it is full of 
strange and admirable merits — a most surprising 
compound of plain grandeur, sentimental affectation, 
and downright nonsense." A common attitude to- 
ward him — perhaps the permanent one — is that of 
Dowden : " He disturbs our classifications. He at- 
tracts us ; he repels us ; he excites our curiosity, 
wonder, admiration, love; or our extreme repugnance. 
He does anything except leave us indifferent. How- 
ever we feel towards him, we cannot despise him. 
He is a ^ summons and a challenge.' He must be un- 
derstood and so accepted, or must be got rid of. 
Passed by he cannot be." 

Class Reading. — O Captain, My Captain ; The Mystic 
Trumpeter ; Pioneers, O Pioneers ; Out of the Cradle End- 
lessly Rocking ; The Centenarian's Story ; Ethiopia Saluting 
the Colors ; When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd. 

Biography and Criticism. — William Clarke's "Life of Whit- 
man." Burroughs's " Whitman, a Study." Kennedy's " Rem- 
iniscences of Whitman." Donaldson's "Whitman, the Man." 
Gilder's " Authors at Home." Symonds's " Walt Whitman, a 
Study." Stedman's "Poets of America." Stevenson's " Fa- 
miliar Studies." Gosse's "Critical Kit-Kats." Dowden's 
"Studies in Literature." Wendell's "Literary History of 
America." Ernest Rhys's "Introduction" (Poems of Walt 
Whitman — Canterbury Poets). Hubbard's " Little Journeys. " 
Cheney's "That Dome in Air." Holmes's " Walt Whitman's 
Poetry : A Study and a Selection.' ' 



CHAPTER X 
PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 

The paramount literary interests of to-day are un- 
questionably centered in fiction; indeed, the marvel- 
ous vogue of the novel is the most significant literary 
fact that marks the opening of the new century. The 
wide extension of the reading habit, the cheapening 
of books and periodicals, the stimulating of intellec- 
tual curiosity by the ubiquitous newspaper, and the 
American temperamental necessity for universality 
mental occupation in moments of leisure, of Novels 
all work together to produce a vast audience to which 
the novelist caters with confidence. A successful 
novel now reaches a sale of hundreds of thousands of 
copies, and the comfortable fortunes suddenly brought 
to the authors seem to belie the traditions of starving 
authorship, or relegate them to a mythological past. 
Moreover, novel-writing is not confined within profes- 
sional bounds. Everybody with a creative mind and 
literary taste writes novels, or tries to do so. Doctors, 
lawyers, judges, bankers, generals, college girls, pro- 
fessors, and ministers compete for the prizes of the 
fiction market. 

Other forms of literature are weakened, if not alto- 
435 



436 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

gether destroyed, by this plethora of fiction. The 
novel takes the place of the epic, and robs lyric po- 
etry of its just rights in personal emotion. Drama 
has entirely succumbed to its power, and history can 
hardly retain a foothold, except as a background for 
the creations of the story-teller. The novel is to the 
present age what the drama was to the Elizabethan ; 
it is the abstract and brief chronicle of the times, and 
much more. Every event, theory, problem, or ques- 
tion of public interest, social, moral, religious, politi- 
cal, or psychological, is exploited and explained in 
the pages of the novel. It divides with the news- 
paper the work of furnishing universal instruction 
and entertainment. 

In this remarkable development of fiction Ameri- 
can authors have reached a distinguished eminence. 
While perhaps the work of no one author stands out 
prominently with the unmistakable marks of immor- 
tal greatness upon it, a very high average of artistic 
attainment has been reached by many authors. If it 
The American ^e true in general of the fiction of the 
Novel English language that never within the 

past century were there so few great writers in this 
department, it is more certainly true that never before 
were there so many good writers. American fiction 
to-day possesses characteristic features that are quite 
as distinctly marked as the characteristics of Euro- 
pean fiction. It is indigenous and increasingly repre- 
sentative. In its breadth, variety, freedom from 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 437 

precedent and fidelity to common life, it is demo- 
cratic, and in its ideal aims, elevated tone, and versa- 
tile energy, it is genuinely American. If our novels 
have not the power and intensity of the Russian, 
they are free from the brutal coarseness of the Rus- 
sian; if they lack the literary grace and artistic 
finish of the French, they are free from the subtle 
poison of the literary morals of the French. The 
novel, however, is not so distinct in its representative 
qualities as the short story. Since its beginning with 
Irving, Hawthorne, and Poe, the American short story 
has developed a popularity unparalleled in other lit- 
eratures, and an artistic excellence unequaled in any 
literature except the French. 

The general tendency of contemporary fiction is to 
focus attention upon small areas of human activity. 
A single novel of Dickens or Thackeray sometimes 
contains fifty or sixty characters, the old plan of the 
novel being a vast canvas crowded with figures and 
incidents; the novelist now concentrates his powers 
upon a few leading characters, presenting only such 
minor characters and details of background and envi- 
roning incidents as will contribute to the adequate in- 
terpretation of the main figures in his plot. 
This tendency is( onlyla phase of the pre- 
vailing passion for more knowledge and more truth. 
Hence we have the principle of " realism " in fiction, 
a name given to the ^ffort of authors to make litera- 
ture a more accurate expression of life, as known to 



438 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

actual experience. Even in the recent reaction toward 
romanticism, an important use is made of the realistic 
principle. The broad extent of the country and the 
variety of scenery and of type characters have given 
special prominence in American fiction to the story 
of lo^ color and dialect. Indeed, in current fiction 
American life in all its phases is being described with 
the minute faithfulness of history. The leading repre- 
sentatives of realism are William Dean Howells and 
Henry James. About these two writers has gathered 
a group of apt pupils and imitators, who with their 
two masters constitute what is known as the school 
of American realism. 

WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS 

1837- 

• Martin's Ferry, Ohio, was not a promising place for 
the making of an author, when William Dean How- 
ells was born there in 1837. His father's newspaper 
office and a good-sized case of books in the home were 
the main instruments of his education. He learned 
the printer's trade, and from his wages of four dollars 
a week contributed to the support of the family. 

" The printing office was my school from 
Apprentice- r o ./ 

ship to a very early date," he says. He obtained 

Letters work upon the newspapers at the state 

capital, reaching at twenty-two the position of " news 
editor,'' and about the same time he published^ 



X] 



PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 439 



with his companion, John James Piatt, a volume of 
poems, entitled "Poems of Two Friends." His strug- 
gling aspirations and unfavorable environment during 
these early years are faithfully described in " Impres- 
sions and Experiences " and " A Boy's Town." 

In 1860 he wrote a campaign biography of Lincoln, 
and for this service received the consulship at Venice. 
This transplanting from 
Ohio to ancient Venice was 
a fortunate event in his life, 
of which he made good use. 
It gave him, he says, " four 
years of almost uninter- 
rupted study and literary 
work." The sketches in 
"Venetian Life" and "Ital- 
ian Journeys," written at 
this time, are among the 
most delightful and valua- 
ble of their kind, showing 
in their minute observation 
and careful style the characteristic marks of his later 
manner. Upon his return he engaged for a time in 

New York iournalism, but in 1866 he was 

Venice 
made assistant editor of the Atlantic Monthly 

and in 1872 became editor-in-chief, which position he 

resigned at the end of nine years, to devote himself 

henceforth to independent authorship. 

"Suburban Sketches," published in 1871, describes 




William Dean Howells 



440 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

with charming humor and grace of style life as he 

saw it about his home in Cambridge. In the same 

year appeared "Their Wedding Journey," a kind of 

prolonged sketch, revealing in a surprising manner 

the literary possibilities of a commonplace 
Early Works 

wedding trip across the state of New York. 

This was followed in 1873 by "A Chance Acquaint- 
ance," in which the narrative of events is shaped 
into a simple story. These books mark successive 
steps of approach toward the complete realistic novel, 
as finally constructed by Howells. They contain his 
finest literary qualities, and to some minds are more 
satisfactory representations of his genius than his 
full-formed novels, written according to certain prin- 
ciples that completely control his later work. 

As these principles constitute a kind of creed, stren- 
uously preached and assiduously practiced by How- 
ells throughout nearly the whole of his literary career, 
it is necessary to an understanding of his work and 
its influence to examine his theories, as presented 
especially in "Criticism and Fiction." A text from 
Theory of Emerson embodies his whole theme : " I 
Fiction ^isk not for the great, the remote, the ro- 

mantic. I embrace the common ; I sit at the feet of 
the familiar and the low." The material of the novel 
must be plain, average, everyday humanity, and 
" realism is nothing more and nothing less than the 
truthful treatment of material." Nothing must enter 
into fiction except " the simple, the natural, and the 



x] PRESENT SCHOOL^ AND TENDENCIES 441 

honest." He renounces romance and heroism, and 
regards any hankering after these old flesh-pots of 
delight as an evidence of the " petrifaction of taste " 
or of a " puerilized fancy.". Scott to him is intolerable. 
Of all the great English masters, only Jane Austen is 
" artistic," for she was " the first and the last of the 
English novelists to treat material with entire truth- 
fulness." The love of the passionate and heroic is a 
"crude and unwholesome thing." As to plot and 
action, these are not necessary to a story ; neither is a 
hero or a heroine. Any continuous and circumstan- 
tial description of a character or group of people is a 
story. The business of the novelist is to observe and 
record what he sees ; the process is not so much pho- 
tographic as microscopic, for J;he camera leaves some 
things in shadow, and the realist theoretically must 
disclose everything. 

That Howell s is superior to this restricted literary 
creed is pretty thoroughly attested by his wide popu- 
larity. His argument and example have served as a 
wholesome protest against the excesses of romance 
and sentimentality, and the lesson of moderation and 
good sense taught by his style is of incalculable value 
to pure fiction. But like every reaction, realism com- 
mits its own indefensible excesses. His judgments 
upon his distinguished predecessors are often antipa- 
thetic rather than critical. Instead of being as broad 
as the shining light of truth, his realism is often as 
limited as the light of a table lamp. Because the im- 



442 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

petuous romanticism of Scott and his school leaves 
upon the delicately sensitized taste of How ells merely 
the impression of caricature, and the ethical side-talks 
of Thackeray pall upon his mind, it does not necessa- 
rily argue a crude mind and an unlettered taste in 
others to find in these authors something consonant 
Limitations with their own views of fact and the eter- 
of Realism j^^i verities. To confine the novelist to 
the portrayal of men and women, "actuated by the 
motives and the passions in the measure we all know," 
is an arbitrary limitation. Life in the " measure we 
all know " is for the most part a commonplace, which 
art should mitigate, not emphasize. There are great 
things in life as well as little things, and the great 
things are no less natural and true because they are 
not common. The one great weakness of Howells's 
novels is their lack of high significance ; the severest 
criticism upon them is that one is seldom impelled to 
read them a second time. The characters are never 
inspiring. The reader's vanity is flattered by discov- 
ering that the people of literature are just mediocre, 
unimpassioned people like himself. The appeal is 
from the commonplace to the commonplace. The in- 
adequacy of this realism is especially felt in Howells's 
treatment of woman. The female characters in his 
novels are for the most part merely variations of a 
single type, the well-dressed, shallow, illogical woman, 
capable only of spasmodic goodness, conversational 
inanity, and delicate duplicity. But this injustice is 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 443 

an illustration of the common tendency of realism to 
represent only certain segments of the eternal round 
of human life, choosing those nearest the earth. 

However, in spite of his ^" wrong-headedness," as 
Vedder remarks, "Howells is easily the first living 
American novelist." His hold upon popular interest, 
it is pretty certain, is due to qualities quite independ- 
ent of his theories. His style alone is a literary 
triumph of a high order. He gives pleasure " by the 
mere process of writing," says Higginson, "just as 
when we are listening to conversation, a Howeiis's 
musical voice gratifies us almost more ^^y^® 
than wit or wisdom. Howells is without an equal 
in America — and therefore without an equal among 
his English-speaking contemporaries — as to some of 
the most attractive literary graces. He has no rival 
in half -tints, in modulation, in subtile phrases that 
touch the edge of an assertion and yet stop short of 
it. He is like a skater who executes a hundred grace- 
ful curves within the limits of a pool a few yards 
square." His expression takes the form of a peculiar 
simplicity, secured by a bold use of common words, 
selected, however, with an unerring sense of fitness, 
and by a happy use of familiar idioms and current 
slang. And he is a master of humor — refined, playful, 
half-concealed humor, emitted from the text like the 
odors from mellow fruit, a humor that is constantly and 
tantalizingly shading into irony. Humor, grace, and 
lucidity constitute the indisputable charm of his prose. 



444 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

His humor is most happily illustrated in his lit- 
tle comedies, such as "The Elevatox," "The Mouse- 
Trap," " The Albany Depot," and " Unex- 
Comedies 

pected Guests." These clever and graceful 

little dramas are the finest contribution of our litera- 
ture to the amateur stage, light conversational trifles, 
just long enough to sustain a hearty laugh at the 
absurdities committed by a few ordinary people in- 
geniously brought together in extraordinary situa- 
tions. 

Three fairly well-marked periods may be distin- 
guished in the progress of Howells's fiction. To the 
first period belong, in addition to the two stories 
already mentioned, " The Lady of the Aroostook " 
and "The Undiscovered Country." The charm of 
these early books is increased by the lingering sug- 
gestions of romance and ideality, which the author 
had not fully rooted out of his nature. The second 
period is represented by " The Kise of Silas Lapham," 
a triumph of realism, and " A Modern Instance," his 
most powerful and most disagreeable book, the novel 
in which he says he has "always taken the most 
satisfaction. I have there come closest to American 
life as I know it." The latest phase of his fiction is 
Deveio ment I'spresented by " A Hazard of New For- 
of his tunes," a novel of New York life, in which 

he shows an increasing inclination to at- 
tempt the unraveling of those perplexities of human 
relationship commonly generalized under the term 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 445 

"social problems." During this period his work re- 
veals the strong influence of the great Russian realist, 
Tolstoi, whose novels, to his thinking, " transcend in 
truth, which is the highest beauty, all other works 
of fiction that have been written." To the ethical 
theories of Tolstoi he commits himself quite as un- 
reservedly, recognizing "their truth with a rapture," 
and rendering them " my allegiance, heart and soul." 
This latest "literary passion," whatever may be the 
effect of its ethical content, cannot but be regarded as 
a misfortune to his art, in proportion as it leads him 
still farther away from his early manner. 

Reading and Discussion. — Suburban Sketches ; A Chance 
Acquaintance ; The Lady of the Aroostook ; The Rise of Silas 
Lapham ; The Elevator ; The Mouse-Trap. 

Biography and Criticism. — Vedder's " Writers of To-day." 
Richardson's "American Literature." Higginson's "Short 
Studies of American Authors." Peck's "The Personal Equa- 
tion." For a discussion of the realistic novel, see Howells's 
" Criticism and Fiction," Henry James's "The Art of Fiction " 
("Partial Portraits "), and F. Marion Crawford's " The Novel : 
What It Is." Autobiographic books: "A Boy's Town"; 
" My Year in a Log Cabin, Impressions and Experiences " ; 
"My Literary Passions." 

HENRY JAMES 
1843- 

The true high priest of American realism in the 
common estimation is Henry James, who is the crea- 
tor of the " international " type of novel, represented 
by such early books as " The American," " Daisy Mil- 



446 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

ler," "The Europeans/' and "An International Epi- 
sode." In these stories the contrasts of character and 
manners between democratic America and aristocratic 
The Interna- Europe are set forth with the full power 
tionai Novel Qf realism and with a cold disregard for 
the feelings of Americans. The appearance of " Daisy- 
Miller," the typical, impulsive, unrestrained, dashing 
American girl abroad, created a sensational storm of 
protest. But it being the peculiar tenet of realism 
that the common and coarser side of truth is prefera- 
ble for the realist's uses, James held to his purpose 
of depicting American crudeness on the background 
of European culture. The truth he chose to paint he 
painted with the skill of a consummate artist. For 
this he was especially fitted by education and expe- 
rience. 

Born in New York in 1843, with a literary inherit- 
ance, educated with great care in the principal cities 
of Europe, and residing abroad for a good part of his 
life, he has become cosmopolitan in culture and with 
an amplified consciousness of that fact. But in view 
of his imperfect knowledge of American life, and his 
disposition to patronize such " provincial " writers as 
Emerson and Hawthorne, his "cosmopolitanism," as 
Cosmopolitan Higginson suggests, " is, after all, limited : 
Culture iq ]^q really cosmopolitan a man must be at 

home even in his own country." His brilliant intel- 
lectual equipment and rare advantages are shown in 
the firm, self-poised mastery of literary art, as he 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 447 

chooses to cultivate it. In his essays and "Life of 
Hawthorne " he proves himself a critic of a superior 
order. In his first volume of stories, " The Passionate 
Pilgrim," 1875, as in the first books of Howells, there 
are evidences of freedom, touches of romance and sen- 
timent, showing that the realistic principle had not 
yet been fully defined in his mind. But he soon 
formulated his creed, henceforth to be sustained with 
a peculiarly rigid directness. 

Realism is carried by James to the perfection of a 
special science. Having selected a group of charac- 
ters, he sits beside them with pencil and notebook in 
hand, watching and reporting with scientific accuracy 
every word and movement, without passion or sympa- 
thy, indifferent as to moral implication, aiming only 
to produce a full and faithful transcript of the surface 
expression of character. " His conceptions james's 
are not forged in the heat of his mind, but Realism 
hammered from cold steel." He forms no plot, pro- 
duces no action or progress, ends the scene where it 
began, draws no conclusion ; he merely presents facts 
and reproduces endless conversations, often brilliant 
with wit and humor, and always convincingly real. 
Unlike the ordinary type characters of Howells, his 
characters are generally interesting for their indi- 
vidual significance and personal distinction. His 
stories are often studies, problems in psychology and 
conduct, approached from the side of taste rather than 
of morals or philosophy. He is often, like some of his 



448 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

characters, '^ engaged in making studies for matri- 
mony," but with only a scientific interest in the affair. 
The perfection of his skill is found in his short 
stories ; in this form of fiction he holds a unique 
mastery. His art is too exquisite for wide popu- 
larity, almost " caviare to the general " ; its finish is 
faultily faultless. One almost wishes that the style 
would lapse into a barbarism occasionally to break 
the monotony of excellence. " It is the style of the 
most finished urbanity, of the broadest and most 
generous culture." Says Howells : " In literature, 
one may say, without fear of contradiction, that the 
writer of the most distinction now writing English 
is Mr. Henry James." ^ 

Reading and Discussion. — The Madonna of the Future ; 
Madame de Mauves ; Daisy Miller ; The Princess Cassamas- 
sima ; The Soft Side ; Portraits of Places, 

FRANCIS MARION CRAWFORD 
1854- 

One of our most popular and prolific writers of 
fiction is F. Marion Crawford, whom the English 
critic, Andrew Lang, regards as *'the most versatile 
and various of modern novelists." Crawford enjoys 
the advantages of an international experience quite as 
opulent as that of Henry James, and, somewhat like 
James also, is perhaps better acquainted with almost 

1 W. D. Howells, in the North American Review, April, 1901. 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 449 

every other people than with his own. The sweep 
and voluminoiisness of knowledge that is available 
to him for fiction are extraordinary, rang- Extensive 
ing from Indian occultism, Zoroaster, and Equipment 
the court of King Darius, to English rural life, 
American party politics and New York society, life 
in the Black Forest of Germany, ancient Rome and 
modern Italy, and the sacred penetralia of St. Peter's 
throne. Since the publication of his first novel, " Mr. 
Isaacs," in 1882, more thai! thirty volumes have ap- 
peared, the best upon Italian themes, the poorest upon 
American. 

Son of the distinguished American sculptor, Thomas 
Crawford, he was born in Italy in 1854 ; he spent his 
early childhood in New York, studied at Harvard, 
at Cambridge University, England, at Carlsruhe and 
Heidelberg, and at Rome. He acquired a wide knowl- 
edge of languages and their respective literatures, 
including the Sanskrit. In 1879 he went to India, 
and for a time edited the Indian Herald at Allahabad, 
where he obtained the experience that led to his 
first romantic and singularly interesting story, "Mr. 
Isaacs." In 1884 he settled in a permanent home 
near Sorrento, Italy. 

Like his compatriots, Howells and James, Crawford 
formulates his own recipe for a " perfect novel," which, 
as illustrated in his own practice, is a compromise be- 
tween the romantic and the realistic method. A novel 
is " an intellectual artistic luxury," to begin with. 
2g 



450 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

" It must deal chiefly with love, for in that passion 

all men and women are most generally interested." 

It " must be clean and sweet, for it must 
A Compro- ' 

mise Theory tell its tale to all mankind." Its realism 
a i^^^gt be real, of three dimensions, not 
flat and photographic ; its romance must be of the 
human heart and truly human, that is, of the earth as 
we have found it ; its idealism must be transcendent, 
not measured to man's mind, but proportioned to 
man's soul." 

This rational view of the novel is consistently ex- 
emplified in Crawford's work. Sometimes he dares 
the scorn of the realists, as in the delightful " Roman 
Singer," with a romance of the old-fashioned type, 
with the lonely castle, secret passages, midnight 
escape, and other paraphernalia of wonderment. The 
best example of his theory, as well as the finest 
product of his genius, is seen in the trilogy, " Sa.ra- 
cinesca," " Sant' Ilario," and " Don Orsino," in which 
the history of a noble Italian family is depicted with 
the finest effects of both romance and realism. 

Reading and Discussion. — Saracinesca ; A Roman Singer. 

TWO MASTERS OF THE SHORT STORY 

One comes upon an embarrassment of riches among 
contemporary short-story writers that makes dis- 
crimination exceedingly difficult. Comparison be- 
comes odious where so many are excellent. Some, 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 451 

however, whose works have outlived their sensational 
success and settled into permanent fame, deserve 
special laurels. An entirely original vein of humor- 
ous and romantic, or fantastic, creation belongs to 
Francis Eichard Stockton. He was born in Philadel- 
phia in 1834, served an apprenticeship in „ 
^ ' ^^ ^ Francis Rich- 

New York journalism, was assistant editor ard Stockton, 
of St. Nicholas in its early years, and ^^^^~ 
finally withdrew from the turmoil of the city to a 
pleasant country home, there to devote himself en- 
tirely to literature. His reputation was established 
in 1879 with "Eudder Grange," and the quaintly 
humorous " Euphemia " and " Pomona " became at 
once universal favorites. His most celebrated fan- 
tasy is " The Lady or the Tiger ? " in which the artful 
betrayal of the reader's confidence is a bit of humor- 
ous sagacity, exhibiting pure genius. His "special 
talent is for writing a tale which in a few pages and 
with the lightest of touches explicates an odd plot or 
delineates an odd character, dealing so gravely and 
logically with an absurd or impossible set of circum- 
stances that they seem reality itself." His humor is 
sly, delicate, and pervasive, and his creations are 
always refined and wholesome ; the reader is never 
ashamed of being found in the company of his char- 
acters. His style is mere simplicity, but that kind of 
artistic simplicity that defies imitation. He suggests 
DeFoe in his habitual method, but a distinct and un- 
mistakable individuality marks all his work. 



452 AMEKICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

A more veritable disciple of DeFoe is the author 
of that famous tale "A Man Without a Country," 
Edward Everett Hale, whose " appallingly 
Everett Hale, voluminous " writings extend to more than 
fifty volumes. He was born in Boston in 
1822, was graduated from Harvard, and for more than 
half a century was one of the leading preachers of his 
native city. His " Ten Times One is Ten " led to the 
philanthropic movement among young people, carried 
on by the ^' Harry Wadsworth," " Lend a Hand," and 
other clubs, which now extends around the globe. 
He is a popular writer of history and biography, but 
his permanent literary fame rests upon his short 
stories, to which he imparts that peculiar quality of 
verisimilitude that imposes upon the minds of readers 
the most whimsical relation of invented facts as actu- 
ality. No other American writer has equaled him in 
this ability to make history out of fiction. "A Man 
Without a Country " has been quoted the world over 
as a record of facts. Like Stockton, Dr. Hale is not 
able to sustain his best qualities in a long story or 
complete novel. Their airy structures are not broad 
enough in the foundation of sentiment or character; 
the puzzle or the mystery must be solved before the 
interest flags. " In His Name," a story of the Wal- 
denses, has been widely read on account of its historic 
interest. Next to Dr. Hale's abounding humor, one 
most enjoys his healthy optimism. The spirit of all 
his work is expressed in the motto of his young hero, 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 453 

'' Look up and not down ; look forward and not back ; 
look out and not in ; and lend a hand." 

Reading and Discussion. — Stockton's " Rudder Grange" ; 
"The Lady or the Tiger? " ; "The Remarkable Wreck of the 
Thomas Hyde." Hale's "A Man Without a Country " ; "My 
Double and How He Undid Me " ; " The Brick Moon " ; " Ten 
Times One is Ten." 

A GROUP OF NEW ENGLAND WOMEN 

Howells generously remarks, apropos of the short 
story, that " the sketches and studies by the women 
seem faithfuller and more realistic than those of the 
men, in proportion to their number." The present 
activity of women in literature is one of the most 
prominent facts of the age; indeed it women in 
marks a historic epoch in the progress I'iterature 
of civilization. In imaginative literature women in 
America are probably at the present time producing 
more work than men, and of an average quality, pos- 
sibly, quite as high in the scale of literary merit. It 
is natural that in intellectual New England the widest 
development of feminine genius should have appeared. 
The common life and scenery of New England, the 
home, childhood, the joys and sorrows of simple human 
hearts, have been described by these women with 
remarkable fullness and truth, with realistic force and 
idealistic purpose, and with a pure regard for the rela- 
tions of the virtues of literature to the virtues of 
everyday life. The names of Mrs. Stowe, Miss Alcott, 



454 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Lucy Larcom, Mrs. Dorr, Mrs. Whitney, Celia Thaxter, 

and many others have long been household words. 

Few descriptions of nature are more genuine and 

delightful than Celia Thaxter's " The Isles of Shoals." 

Elizabeth Stuart Phelps- Ward gives us also 

Thaxter, sympathetic studies of the sea that beats 

^ ^ ~^ ^^ out its wild music for poets' ears along the 

Elizabeth ^ ° 

Stuart rocky " north shore." She knows, too, the 

Phelps, 1844- people in the great factory towns, and at times 
her pen has been devoted philanthropically to " causes." 
But she knows best and describes best the heart and 
soul of the New England woman, in her strongest 
moods and aspirations, as one sees in " The Story of 
Avis " and other books in which the men are generally 
foils for the women. She is impulsive, passionate, and 
intense in her emotions, and her imagination is some- 
times venturesome, as in "The Gates Ajar," which 
was a shock to the orthodox, a comfort to many afflicted 
hearts, and a sensational literary success. Sweet, 
tender, and graceful are the songs of Julia C. R. Dorr, 
in "Eriar Anselmo," "Afternoon Songs," and other 
volumes, to which are to be added several novels and 
books of delightful travel sketches, such as " The 
Flower of England's Face." With these 

Julia C. R. 

Dorr, 1825- authors is closely associated the novelist, 
Sarah Orne Sarah Orne Jewett, who with painstaking 
fidelity and in beautiful ]3rose suffused 
with quiet humor paints the life of the good old-fash- 
ioned folk of her native section. We could not well 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 455 

spare such books as " Deephaven," " A Marsh Island," 

and " The Country of the Pointed Firs." Her books 

are alive with the fragrance of the woods, the murmur 

of pines, the lilt of the ebbing tide in the lush sea grass, 

and the simple occupations of homely country folk. 

With this author one gets very near to the simple 

heart of nature aud of natural people. Rose Terry 

Cooke achieved a notable success with her short stories, 

presenting vividly the grimly humorous 

aspects of New England character, as in (j^^^g ^"^ 

" Miss Lucinda " and " The Deacon's Week." 1827-1892 

A strong contrast to these bucolic writers ^t'i^o* «^^^" 
® cott Spofford, 

is found in the work of Harriet Prescott 1835- 

Spofford, whose " Amber Gods," " Midsum- ^^'S^'^^ 
^ ' ' Deland, 1857- 

mer and May," and other short stories dis- 
play a luxuriant and romantic imagination "fairly 
resplendent in color, rich in tone, and Oriental in 
perfume." One of the strongest writers of this group 
is Margaret Deland, who in "John Ward, Preacher" 
and " Sydney " grapples boldly with profound problems 
without disturbing the balance of fine literary values. 
Of present New England novelists the most famous, 
and probably the most certain of permanent fame, is 

Mary Eleanor Wilkins who, in the iudg- „ 

•^ J J & Mary Eleanor 

ment of many critics, deserves to be placed wiikins, 
among the greatest novelists of the period. ^^^^~ 
She describes with a powerful, almost painful realism, 
local types and scenery, lean-faced farmers, gaunt and 
colorless old maids, gossiping housewives, Puritaa 



456 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

consciences, primitive passions that stir the souls of 
homely people the limit of whose world is the village 
post-office. " A Humble E-omance and Other Stories," 
1887, "A New England Nun," and "Pembroke," rep- 
resent her characteristic power and method. "Giles 
Corey, Yeoman," was a dramatic experiment of strik- 
ing force, and some of her more recent work, as " The 
Heart's Highway," shows an inclination to recede 
somewhat from her rigid realism, in the direction of 
romanticism. 

From the scores of novelists who have won an undisputed 
success, it is difi&cult to select with any hope of justice the few 
who can be named in a subordinate paragraph. The humor 
and pathos of New England life are strongly depicted by 
John Townsend Trowbridge (1827- ), in "Neighbor Jack- 
wood," "Coupon Bonds," and many other stories, and in his 

quaint poems of the soil, like the "Vagabonds." 
The Lesser rj.^^ breezy out-of-door novel "John Brent" will 
Novelists *^ 

keep the name of Theodore Winthrop (1828-1861) 

green, and perhaps commend his other stories. With Win- 
throp perished, in the Civil War, the brilliant Irish-American 
Fitz-James O'Brien (1828-1861), whose "Diamond Lens" and 
other short tales do not suffer in comparison with the tales of 
Poe. Another forgotten New York novelist is Herman Mel- 
ville (1819-1891), whose "Typee" and "Omoo," containing 
his adventures while a captive among the cannibals of the 
South Sea Islands, were once the sensation of two continents. 
Two powerful and artistic novels by Arthur Sherburn Hardy 
(1847- ), " But Yet a Woman " and "Passe Rose," raised 
high hopes that may yet be fulfilled. The many novels of Julian 
Hawthorne (1846- ), some of them remarkable for creative 
force, like "Archibald Malmaison," show the inheritance of a 
literary gift from his distinguished father, from which achieve- 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 457 

ments of permanent worth might reasonably be expected. 
Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen (1848-1895), an adopted Norwegian, 
gathered the memories of his native land into the stories ' ' Gun- 
nar," "A Norseman's Pilgrimage," and "Ilka on the Hill- 
top," which were written with a free, spontaneous love and 
romantic fancy that disappear in his later novels, when he had 
become converted to the realism of Howells and Tolstoi. 
Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849- ) will be affectionately re- 
membered by "That Lass o' Lowrie's" and "Little Lord Faun- 
tleroy," notwithstanding her later descent to the methods of 
the naturalistic school of fiction and the sensational stage in 
her "Lady of Quality." 

A welcome reaction against realism and naturalism seems to 
be marked by the enormous popularity of recent historical 
romances, such as Lew "Wallace's "Ben Hur," 
Mary H. Catherwood's "The Romance of Dol- Romantic 
lard," Edwin Lassetter Bynner's "The Begum's 
Daughter," Dr. S. Weir Mitchell's "Hugh Wynne," Mary 
Johnston's "To Have and To Hold," Paul Leicester Ford's 
"Janice Meredith," Winston Churchill's "Richard Carvel," 
and Maurice Thompson's "Alice of Old Vincennes." This 
return to romanticism shows that the great reading public 
loves a story, a genuine hero and heroine, and a plot well filled 
with incident and adventure. One characteristic of this histor- 
ical fiction reveals the influence of the realistic movement, as 
well as the scientific method in recent historical writing. The 
story is outlined upon a background of real history, constructed 
by the novelist with a painstaking regard for accuracy of detail. 
In fact, the tendency is toward the union of the romantic and 
realistic methods for the production of a new type of fiction com- 
bining the merits of both methods ; and in spite of those critics 
who, like Brander Matthews, harbor a kind of academic prejudice 
against "that bastard hybrid of fact and fancy which is known 
as the historical romance," ^ criticism is reconciling its judgment 
to the instinctive preferences of the great reading public. 

1 The Study of Fiction, by Brander Matthews, in "Counsel upon 
the Reading of Books," p. 173. 



458 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

THE WEST IN LITERATURE 

The marvelous growth of the West, so rapid and 
so extensive that history cannot keep pace with it, 
is the most conspicuous feature of our national de- 
velopment since the war of the Revolution. Nothing 
in the century of our national life, not even the Civil 
War, rivals in interest and significance this wonderful 
sweep of our civilization over the illimitable spaces of 
the West. As the new political power of this great 
region already threatens to deprive the East of its 
su]3remacy in civil affairs, so it is not 
ture of De- unlikely that a literature will be developed 
"^° ^ ^ of corresponding magnitude and strength. 

The West is now the most truly democratic section of 
our country, and so far as American literature expresses 
American democracy it will almost necessarily be 
Western in its spirit and flavor, if not in form. There 
are already signs of local pride and enthusiasm, of 
free, self-confident expression, of high-wrought pur- 
pose as well as adventurous experiment, that promise 
a new and distinctive contribution to our national 
literary types. A loyal Western author, Hamlin 
Garland, indulges in prophecy that is significant, 
even if over-confident. " It is my sincere convic- 
tion," he says, "that the interior is to be henceforth 
the real America. From these interior spaces of the 
South and Wpst the most vivid and fearless and 
original expression of the future American democracy 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 459 

will come." The literature already springing up in this 
section '^ is to be a literature not of books, but of life. 
It will draw its inspiration from original contact with 
men and with nature." ^ 

New as is the West — the vast agricultural West, 
with its wire fences and railroads and endless acres 
of wheat and corn — there is also an old West, the 
West of free wind-swept prairies, with the buffalo, the 
Indian, the gold-hunter, and the emigrant train. The 
strange and fascinating features of this aboriginal West 
afford a magnificent background for the poet and the 
novelist, and thus far comparatively little use has been 
made of this rich material. The first representative 
work in this field came from the mining camps of the 
" Argonauts of '49 " in the poems and stories of Bret 
Harte. 

FRANCIS BRET HARTE 

1839- 

Francis Bret Ilarte was born in Albany, in 1839, 
went to California in 1854, tried teaching and mining, 
making a failure of both, then learned printing, and 
finally exchanged the composing stick for the editor's 
pen. Among his first literary attempts were the " Con- 
densed Novels," parodies of famous works of fiction, 
contributed to the Californian. In 1868 the Overland 
Monthly was started, with Harte as editor, and in 
the second number appeared "The Luck of Roaring 

1 Hamlin Garland's " Crumbling Idols," p. 156. 



460 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Camp," which was at once accepted as " heralding the 
rise of a new star in the literary heavens." This was 
First and ^oon followed by " The Outcasts of Poker 
Best Work Flat," generally regarded as his best story. 
About the same time he also wrote his best poems, 
" John Burns of Gettysburg," " Plain Language from 
Truthful James," " The Society upon the Stanislaus," 
and others. In 1878 he went abroad with the appoint- 
ment of consul, first at Crefeld, Germany, and then at 
Glasgow, and in England he elected to make his home, 
where his popularity has continued more steadily than 
in his own country ; for the wild life pictured in his 
stories seems to meet the Englishman's demand for 
something " original " in American literature. 

Bret Harte is master of a limited field. He can 
make vivid, dramatic sketches of the rough life of 
a mining region as no one else can. He can bring 

out with startling force the humor, pathos, 
A Limited ^^^ tragedy of his typical characters, 

leather-faced miners, swaggering specula- 
tors, gamblers, and degraded women, and with a 
broad charity he can find some redeeming quality 
of goodness or heroism in them all. But he cannot 
analyze or develop character, or manage a plot. His 
long stories, as "Gabriel Conroy," are but series of 
episodes. Moreover, his literary resources appear to 
be confined to this Californian experience. The early 
stories were masterpieces of their kind, unequaled by 
anything in his later work. 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 461 

" His prose idyls of the camp and coast," says 
Stedinan, "even more than his ballads, were the 
vouchers of a poet ; familiar as the verse at once 

became, it is far less creative than the 

^ • rpi, ^- o -^ ^ His Poetry 

stories, ihe serious portion oi it, except- 
ing a few dialect pieces, — 'Jim,' 'In the Tunnel,' 
etc., — is much like the verse of Longfellow, Whittier, 
and Taylor ; the humorous poems, though never want- 
ing in some touch of nature, are apt to be what we do 
not recognize as American. But of either class it may 
be said that it is, like the rhyming of his master, 
Thackeray, the overflow of a rare genius, whose work 
must be counted among the treasures of the language." 

Class Reading. — Poetry : John Burns of Gettysburg ; Plain 
Language from Truthful James ; In the Tunnel ; Jim ; Dickens 
in Camp ; The Society upon the Stanislaus. 

Prose : The Outcasts of Poker Flat ; How Santa Claus came 
to Simpson's Bar ; A Ship of '49. 

EDWARD EGGLESTON 

1837- 

The pioneer life of the middle West found its first 
literary representative in Edward Eggleston, who has 
painted in most vivid colors the picturesque charac- 
ter of the original Hoosier. Eggleston was born in 
Indiana, in 1837, spent some years as an itinerant 
Methodist preacher, edited Sunday-school journals in 
Chicago, came to New York in 1870, became editor of 
Hearth and Home, preached five years in Brooklyn, and 



462 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

thenceforward devoted himself exclusively to literature. 
In 1871 he published " The Hoosier Schoolmaster," 
Hoosier ^^^^ Opening a new field of fiction as strange 

Novels and interesting as that of Bret Harte. This 

was followed by "The Circuit Eider/' "Roxy," "The 
Hoosier Schoolboy," "The Graysons," and "The Mys- 
tery of Metropolisville," all novels of the soil, fresh, 
vivid, and genuine, growing directly out of personal 
experience. "The scenes are rough," says Richard- 
son, "and the characters 'tough,' in the better sense 
and sometimes in the worse ; but the fidelity with 
which youth and age in the backwoods are painted 
makes the books, like so many other American works, 
at least valuable essays toward that full delineation of 
the whole country which our novelists seem surely, 
though irregularly, to be making." 

The breadth of Dr. Eggleston's powers has been 
shown in later years by a change of scene for his fiction. 
"The Faith Doctor," 1891, is a study of Christian 
Science with New York social life as a background. 
His final inclinations seem to be toward historical 
work. The first two volumes, "The Beginners of a 
Nation" and "The Transit of Civilization," of his 
projected work, " A History of Life in the United 
States," have already appeared. To the completion of 
this large undertaking he has apparently pledged the 
strength of his remaining years. 

Reading and Discussion. — The Hoosier Schoolmaster ; The 
Graysons. 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 468 

Out of the Ohio valley came Howells to New York, as well 
as Eggleston and the Gary sisters ; and four poets are native 
there who have a strong hold upon the popular heart, Hay, 
Piatt, Riley, and Edith Thomas. John Hay (1838- ) has 
never returned to the field of his first success in "Pike County 
Ballads," and the promise given in the delightful volume of Span- 
ish sketches, " Castilian Days," has not been fulfilled. He was 
private secretary to Abraham Lincoln, and his mas- 
sive " Abraham Lincoln ; a History," written with ° ^ /^ ' 

' '' ern Poets 

John G. Nicolay, is likely to remain one of the 

great standard works upon the period. John James Piatt 
(1835- ), the " Whittier of the West," in his "Poems of 
Sunshine and Firelight," and other volumes of sweet idyllic 
verse, has won the right to be called "the laureate of prairie 
and homestead life." James Whitcomb Riley (1852- ) is 
" the Hoosier poet " of to-day, who pipes his country ditties in 
quaint and homely dialect with genuine humor and poetic spirit. 
"The Old Swimmin'-hole and 'Leven More Poems" appeared 
in 1883, followed by many other volumes that prove him to be 
at present our leading dialect poet. Edith Matilda Thomas 
(1854- ), a poet of secure and increasing fame, has given us, 
in such volumes as "In Sunshine Land " and " A Winter Swal- 
low, and Other Verse," daintily finished lyrics, sweet with the 
perfume of woods and fields. Children have reason to mourn 
the loss of Eugene Field (1850-1895), who won the hearts of 
"grown-ups" as well with his humorous, tender, dainty, and 
fantastic little songs. He will be long remembered if only for 
the sake of his "Little Boy Blue." In Michigan Will Carleton 
(1845- ) wrote his "Farm Ballads" and "Farm Legends," 
before transferring his residence to the East. A poet of home 
and the domestic affections, he caught at once the popular ear 
with " Over the Hill to the Poor-house" and "The First Set- 
tler's Story," and he has since worked with wide success this 
vein of simple feeling and homely speech. 

A picturesque representative of the remote West and its spirit 
as embodied in verse is Cincinnatus Heine Miller, known in 
literature as Joaquin Miller, a Rocky Mountain Byron, whose 



464 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

" Songs of the Sierras," "Songs of the Silnlands," " Songs of the 

Desert," and other collections, excited a temporary enthusiasm, 

especially in England, that led to an extravagant 

Joaquin estimate of his poetic merits. His volumes show 

Miller, 1841- . ... ,,,..,. 

an impetuous imagination, a bold originality and 

windy freshness, often a tropical richness of color, and an expres- 
sion sometimes strongly effective in picturing the wild beauty of 
mountain and desert, but perversely disobedient to the funda- 
mental rules of rhetoric. Indeed his limitations are due, not so 
much to the lack of creative power, as to an untutored taste and 
a disposition to be satisfied with bizarre and sensational effects. 
He is a child of nature, but of nature only in her vast and 
magnificent rudeness, as known to him in his early pioneer 
experience. 

ricti(jn rather than poetry is yet the representative form of 
literature in the West. The mining districts of Montana and 
Idaho have a sympathetic interpreter in Mary Halleck Foote 
(1847- ), whose characteristic work is represented by " The 
Led-horse Claim," "John Bodewin's Testimony," and "The 
Last Assembly Ball." The name of Mary Hartwell Cather- 
wood (1847- ) was placed high in the list of native novelists 
by the striking historical novel, " The Romance of Dollard." 
Alice French, whose pen name is " Octave Thanet," has drawn 
much literary interest to the canebrakes of Arkansas and the 
small towns of the middle West with her strong, dramatic short 
stories, represented by "Knitters in the Sun," "Otto the 
Knight," and " Stories of a Western Town." A novelist 
whose books deserve a second reading is Constance Fenimore 
AVoolson (1838-1894), representing the lake region of the West 
in her " Castle Nowhere," and the South, in the early years of 
reconstruction, in the volume of tender and pathetic stories 
entitled "Rodman the Keeper." Her novel "Anne" was 
pronounced by the London Spectator to be " one of the best 
novels America has produced for the last quarter of a century." 
Army life on the Western frontier during the past twenty years 
is vividly presented in the stories of Captain Charles King 
(1844- ). Hamlin Garland (1860- ) pictures the hard, 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 465 

prosaic, uninspiring features of tlie Western farmer's life ; his 
best-known works are "Main Travelled Roads,'' "Prairie 
Folks," " Rose of Dutcher's Coolly," and " The Eagle's Heart." 
With a similar fidelity Stanley Waterloo paints, in "A Man 
and a Woman," the life of the upper Mississippi valley. The 
largest expectations, perhaps, have been raised by Henry Blake 
Fuller (1857- ), who in "The Cliff-dwellers" and "With 
the Procession " has described, perhaps with unwarranted 
emphasis, certain phases of the social life of the Western 
metropolis. 

AMERICAN HUMOR 

It is generally admitted that America has produced 
an original type of humor, which, however difficult 
of definition, is unmistakable in its main character- 
istics. The shrewd, calculating, keen-witted Yankee, 
serenely confident and good-natured, as represented by 
" Brother Jonathan," has impressed his unique person- 
ality strongly upon our literature ; but injustice has 
been done to our humorous genius, especially by foreign 
admirers, by exalting the more crude and vulgar mani- 
festations of this character. The perverted spelling 
of " Josh Billings," the inimitable foolery xwo Types 
of "Artemus Ward," and the perennial of Humor 
waggery of the " funny man " of the new^spapers are 
not so truly representative of American humor as the 
refined literary products of " Hosea Biglow " and 
the " Autocrat." Indeed, an improving taste is dem- 
onstrating that humorous expression does not need 
to be rude, boisterous, and vulgar in order to be Ameri- 
can. Our finest humor to-day is found in the work of 
2h 



466 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

such, writers as Stockton, Howells, Kate Douglas 
Wiggin, Mary Wilkins, and Robert Grant, where 
it appears as a delicate and graceful literary 
quality — a flavor rather than an independent sub- 
stance — that vitalizes its subject with permanent 
interest. The saving grace of much of our contem- 
porary fiction is this quality of piquant and pervasive 
humor. 

American humor can better be described than de- 
fined. Its basis is a strong, native common sense. 
Underneath, its drollery there is generally some hard 
fact of experience or wise criticism of life. It is 
fresh, spontaneous, and wholesome, with no bitterness 
^ ^ in its jests or poisonous sting. It possesses 

tics of Ameri- an extraordinary aptitude for the incon- 
can Humor -, , t i £c j.- 

gruous, and makes a peculiarly eiiective 
use of contradiction and anti-climax ; as in Artemus 
Ward's advice, " Always live within your income, 
if you have to borrow money to do it," or in the 
homely maxims of Josh Billings, as " It is better to 
kno less than to kno so mutch that ain't so." It is 
often flippant and irreverent, treating with equal 
liberty things sacred and profane, exhibiting a per- 
verse delight in discovering the comic side of serious 
things, and making an audacious use of scriptural 
thought and phraseology. Finally, its most salient 
characteristic is extravagant and whimsical exaggera- 
tion. Its favorite figure is hyperbole, as in Lowell's 
description of the negro who was '' so black that 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 467 

charcoal made a chalk mark upon him." A sweep 
of exaggeration as broad as a prairie is combined 
with the utmost gravity of statement; the most 
inherently absurd proposition is presented with the 
most soberfaced seriousness. Much of the prepos- 
terous American boasting is merely humor of this 
kind. 

In studying humorous literature, especially Ameri- 
can, it is important to keep in mind the fundamental 
distinction between wit and humor. This distinction 
Lowell has not only amply illustrated in his writings, 
but has also lucidly defined : " We find it ^.^ ^^^ 
very natural to speak of the breadth of Humor 
humor, while wit is by the necessity of its 
being as narrow as a flash of lightning, and as sudden. 
Humor may pervade a whole page without our being 
able to put our finger on any passage and say, ^ It is 
here.' Wit must sparkle and snap in every line or it 
is nothing. . . . Wit demands only a clear and nimble 
intellect, presence of mind, and a happy faculty of ex- 
pression. This perfection of phrase, this neatness, is 
an essential of wit, because its effect must be instan- 
taneous ; whereas humor is often diffuse and round- 
about, and its impression cumulative like the poison 
of arsenic.'' 

The original Yankee of humorous literature, the 
progenitor of " Hosea Biglow," was " Major Jack 
Downing," created by Seba Smith in the "Downing 
Letters" of about 1830. From "jest about the middle 



468 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

of down East " this hero, like Lowell's hero, sent his 
impressions of public events to a local newspaper, the 
Portland Courier. From these papers Charles Farrar 
Browne, " Artemus Ward," probably caught his first 
comic inspiration. Moreover, while working in a 
Boston printing office Browne set the type for Saxe's 
witty verses and Shillaber's "Mrs. Partington." But 
the popular " lecture bureau " of the period furnished 
him with the most prolific hint. Devising a " pano- 
rama," consisting of grotesquely poor pictures, and 
constructing an irrelevant and incoherent discourse to 
accompany it, he poked fun at the eminent lecturers 
by becoming an eminent lecturer himself His " show " 
„^ , „ became immensely popular at home and 

Charles Farrar J if r 

Browne, abroad. An English author who heard 

I 34-1 7 -j^^^ g^^jj^ regards his "showman" as "one 

of the most realistic and irresistibly captivating crea- 
tions of modern fiction." His originality was quite 
unique. To his mind the world appeared upside 
down ; the grotesque or absurd side of everything was 
to him the natural side. Nothing was too serious to 
be comic, nothing too simple to be converted to the 
purposes of wit. The point of his jest is usually in a 
sudden twist given to the commonplace that upsets it 
and reveals some unexpected fact or phase, as in his 
remark that "an occasional joke improves a comic 
paper." In his satire he was generally wise and just, 
ridiculing only things that deserve ridicule. His best 
witticisms that are still current may be found in " Ar- 



PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 



469 



teiiius Ward: His Book," " Artemus Ward in London," 
and " Artemus Ward : His Panorama." Much of the 
peculiar flavor of his humor, arising largely from an 
extraordinary, laughter-provoking simplicity of per- 
sonal manner, has evaporated from the printed page, 
and his fame, like that of the actor, is becoming a 
memory of the oldest play-goers. 

Out of the aboriginal West came our most cele- 
brated humorist, Samuel Langhorne Clemens, known 
throughout the circuit 
of the globe as "Mark 
Twain," He was born 
in Missouri, and his early 
years were spent in the 
"loafing, out - at - elbows, 
down-at-the-heels, slave- 
holding" town of Han- 
nibal. It was a crude, 
elemental life, unpropi- 
tious enough for the de- 
velopment of literary 
tastes. At thirteen he 
began his career by learn- 
ing the printer's trade. His earliest ambition as a 
boy was to be a steamboat man, and the roving 

printer became for five years a Missis- „ 
, , . , Samuel Lang- 

sippi river pilot. An adventurous trip home Clemens, 

to Nevada furnished the material for ' ^^~ 

" Eoughing It," one of our best books of wild West- 




Mark Twain 



470 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

ern experience. He tried mining without success, 
then tried journalism for a time, and in San Fran- 
cisco tried a lecture, the announcement of which 
ended : " Doors open at 7^. The trouble will begin 
at 8." It was a success, and was soon repeated in 
New York, a success that was destined to be repeated 
in " lecture tours " in all parts of the world. 

In 1867 appeared his first volume of humorous 
sketches, entitled "The Celebrated Jumping Frog." 
The same year he visited the Old World, and two 
years later published " The Innocents Abroad," which 
speedily brought him both fame and fortune. A half 
million copies of this book have been sold. This was 
followed by a long list of books, many of which have 
reached a similarly phenomenal popularity, being re- 
published wherever the English language is under- 
stood, and translated into the leading languages of 
Europe. The narrative of a second trip to Europe is 
Principal contained in " A Tramp Abroad " " Tom 
^^^^^ Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn," sup- 

posedly autobiographic, are astonishingly clever stud- 
ies of the American bad boy. His best autobiographic 
narrative is "Life on the Mississippi." Indeed, to 
this majestic river he owes his finest inspiration ; 
wherever it flows through his work, there is a breadth 
and eloquence of expression that could come only 
from native affection. The Mississippi belongs to 
Mark Twain as the Hudson belongs to Irving. " The 
Prince and the Pauper " and " A Connecticut Yankee in 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 471 

King Arthur's Court," are English stories with care- 
fully studied historical backgrounds. In the latter, 
in the spirit of Don Quixote, he indulges in a rollick- 
ing tilt against the rose-colored chivalry of the " Morte 
d' Arthur " and the " Idylls of the King." " Personal 
Recollections of Joan of Arc," in which the story of 
the miraculous maid is told soberly, almost reverently, 
was published anonymously, as if to test his claim to 
the rights of serious authorship. 

Mark Twain enjoys the distinction of being univer- 
sally regarded as the "first of living humorists," an emi- 
nence due in large measure to his extensive popularity 
as a public jester. But he is more than "the privileged 
comedian of the republic," more than a professional fun- 
maker for the millions. He possesses a true literary gift, 
and exercises a trained literary skill. " No American 
author to-day," says Brander Matthews, "has at his 
command a style more nervous, more varied, more 
flexible, or more direct than Mark Twain." He sees 
things with remarkable clearness, and describes them 
with clean-cut, effective expression. The accurate 
and comprehensive pictures of the crude society in 
which he was born are invaluable merely for the his- 
tory they record. His ingenious fancy seems to be 
inexhaustible in its creative resources, producing with 
natural ease the most astonishing extrava- Literary 
gances, elaborately finished with photo- Qualities 
graphic minuteness of detail. Beneath his picturesque 
exaggeration there is generally a foundation of good 



472 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

sense ; one recognizes a certain unexpected sanity and 
justice in his judgments. He is an interpreter of life 
and men, not like Holmes, through culture, but through 
experience. He has the spirit, without the self-con- 
sciousness of the reformer. He hates sham and cant, 
and against both makes a legitimate use of satire. 
His humor is not copied from others or cultivated 
from books. The emphatic Yankee element in his 
nature, the kinship with Franklin and Lincoln, is the 
source of his power. "He seldom flashes like Arte- 
mus," says Haweis ; " he distils his fun drop by drop 
through a whole page, instead of condensing it into a 
sentence." One characteristic seriously mars his work. 
A vein of coarseness too frequently crops out, which 
is not justified even by the elemental rudeness of the 
material with which he deals. His elaborately con- 
trived jests sometimes approach vulgarity. It is, 
however, a difficult matter for a humorist to pre- 
serve the nice balance of taste required to discrimi- 
nate between cleverness and coarseness. 

Class Reading. — The Innocents Abroad ; Life on the Mis- 
sissippi ; The £1,000,000 Bank Note ; The Man that Corrupted 
Hadleyburg ; My First Lie and How I Got Out of It ; Private 
History of the "Jumping Frog " Story ; The Stolen White Ele- 
phant ; Speech on the Weather. 

THE ESSAY-NATURALISTS 

The great intellectual interests of the present age 
are scientific. The broad scientific movement of the 



X] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 473 

last fifty years, which might be succinctly defined as 

an effort to obtain a more accurate knowledge of the 

underlying truth of things, has profoundly affected 

every department of art and life. On the physical 

side human life may almost be said to have been 

transformed, and in respect to the ideals „ . ^.^ 
' ^ Scientific 

of art and religion the revolution is hardly Movement of 
less complete. The leaders of human effort ® ^^ 
to-day are not the truth-makers, prophets, and seers, 
but the truth-seekers, the patient devotees of fact, who 
give themselves to the work of interpreting the phe- 
nomena of nature and determining the laws governing 
her processes. To the idea of God manifest in the 
soul of man has been added the idea of God manifest 
in the soul of nature. The prophets of these latter 
days have been Darwin, Tyndal, Huxley, and Spencer, 
and our own Gray, Dana, and Agassiz. There could 
not but be losses attendant upon such a reactionary 
movement as the age is witnessing, but there are 
greater gains in the new and varied interests that have 
been awakened, and in the broader and deeper signifi- 
cance given to life itself. 

Out of the scientific interest has grown a new form 
of literature, the particular mission of ANewLiter- 
which is to correlate more closely human ary Motive 
life with the life of the outward world. The impulse 
was first felt by the poets. Ever since the outflow of 
Burns's sympathy to the field mouse, — 

Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie, 



474 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

and the expression of Wordsworth's peculiar creed 
that so startled the orthodox, — 

And 'tis my" faith that every flower 
Enjoys the air it breathes, 

the tendency of poetry has been toward the humaniz- 
ing of nature, the establishing of a genuine human 
relationship with all living things in the out-of-door 
world through intimate knowledge and tender sym- 
pathy. Drawing its inspiration from both poets and 
scientists, a school of prose writers has arisen that is 
exerting a rapidly increasing influence by adding to 
the realm of culture the infinitely varied sources of 
enjoyment in woods and fields. The school is repre- 
sented in England by Richard Jeffries, author of the 
" Gamekeeper at Home," and in our own country by 
John Burroughs. In the library these writers are 
essayists, and in the open air they are naturalists. 
Let us call them, therefore, essay -naturalists. 

The essay-naturalist's view-point or approach to 
nature is that of the poet and artist rather than that 
of the scientist. Science is impersonal; it observes, 
classifies, and records facts for truth's sake alone. 
Literature is personal ; it observes and records, but 
The Literary records f acts as colored by individual f eel- 
Scientist j^g ^-j^^ thought. The distinction is well 
described by Burroughs. Deprecating the methods of 
the "calculating nature-students" who work with 
microscope and gather only " specimens " for a collec- 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 475 

tion, he describes his own method: "I have loved 
nature and spent many of my days in the fields and 
woods in as close intimacy with her varied forms of 
life as I could bring about, but a student of nature in 
any strict scientific sense I have not been. What 
knowledge I possess of her creatures and ways has 
come to me through contemplation and enjoyment, 
rather than through deliberate study of her. I have 
been occupied more with the spirit than with the letter 
of her works. In our time, it seems to me, too much 
stress is laid upon the letter." This is the kind of 
knowledge, he says, "that reaches and affects the 
character and becomes a grown part of us. We absorb 
this as we absorb the air, and it gets into the blood." 

These students are not less curious and enthusiastic 
than the scientists about the facts of the physical 
world, and are often quite as patient and painstaking 
observers ; but the impetus comes to their work from 
the heart rather than from the head. The realization 
of a kinship with all living things is a new source of 
inspiration. It was a true thought of Robert Louis 
Stevenson's that " to live close to nature is to keep your 
soul alive." Such living is growth and progress in all 
the virtues. Through beauty and sympathy nature 
appeals to man as man appeals to his fellows. The 
new relationship is well expressed by one of the 
younger poets. Bliss Carman : — 

Over the shoulders and slopes of the dune 
I saw the white daisies go down to the sea, 



476 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

A host in the sunshine, a snowdrift in June, 
The people God sends us to set our hearts free. 



JOHN BURROUGHS 
1837- 

The founder of the school of essay-naturalists was 
Thoreau, whose " Walden " was to America what Gil- 
bert White's "Natural History of Selborne" was to 
England, a revelation and a prophecy concerning a 
new kingdom on earth. We must not forget the earlier 
pioneer work of the ornithologists, Wilson and Audu- 
bon, whose personal records of adventure in birdland 
possess the interest almost of romance. It was 
Thoreau, however, who first brought scholarship into 
touch with wild life, through the medium of a minute 
and affectionate personal interest. Once having read 
his books, the public could never relapse wholly into 
its former indifference toward nature, and thus the 
way was prepared for his successors. The most dis- 
tinguished disciple of Thoreau is John Burroughs, who 
for more than thirty years through his fresh-hearted 
essays has been exercising the charms of a fascinating 
companionship in the fields. 

John Burroughs was born on a farm in Eoxbury, 
N. Y. He had only the ordinary opportunities for 
Education of education afforded by a farming commu- 
a Naturalist ^i^y, but he had more than the ordinary 
desire for education. To obtain books he tapped the 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 477 

maple trees and sold the sugar in the earliest markets. 
The best part of his education, however, as he himself 
regards it, was obtained from the intimate associa- 
tion of his boyhood with the life of the out-of-door 
world. " I was born," he says, " of and among people 
who neither read books nor cared for them." And to 
this "unliterary environment," he says is due, "prob- 
ably what little freshness and primal sweetness my 
books contain." "No one," he adds, "starts in the 
study of natural history with such advantages as he 
whose youth was passed on the farm. He has already 
got a great deal of it in his blood and bones ; he has 
grown up in right relations with man and beast ; the 
study comes easy and natural to him." 

For about nine years Burroughs was a school-teacher, 
and for another nine years he held a position in the 
Treasury Department at Washington, and then he was 
appointed by government as a bank-examiner. In 1874 
he returned to his original profession of farming, upon 
a few choice acres in Esopus on the Hudson. Here 
is his home, "Riverby," beautifully characteristic in 
all its details of the man and his tastes, where he 
divides his time between literature and fruit culture. 
A mile from the house, by a foot-path over the hills, 
is " Slabsides," his favorite retreat in the woods. 
Here he reads and writes and exchanges confidences 
with the neighborly squirrels and birds, maintaining 
a sort of domestic relationship with all living things 
about him. He loves nature's solitudes, yet he does 



478 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

not, hermit-like, renounce society. He visits the city 
occasionally, and now and then gives a lecture. But 
" three or four days in the city," he says, " is about 
all I can stand at a time." 

The felicitous titles chosen by Burroughs for his 
books are always pleasantly suggestive of their con- 
tents. Such titles as " Wake-Eobin," "Winter Sun- 
shine," " Locusts and Wild Honey," " Fresh Fields," 
and "Squirrels and Other Fur Bearers" are rich 
The Secret promises of open-air delights. He writes 
of his style Q^ilj when moved by inclination, never " to 
order," and therefore the quality is always his best. 
His style is simple and natural, colloquial in its direct- 
ness, showing the desire merely to report in a straight- 
forward, honest manner what he has seen and felt. 
With the peculiar earnestness of his loving interest 
in an object, he assumes the sympathetic interest of 
his reader and makes him his companion and confi- 
dant. " What I feel I can express," he says, " and 
only what I feel. If I had run after the birds only 
to write about them, I never should have written any- 
thing that any one would care to read. I must write 
from sympathy and love, or not at all." Elsewhere 
he gives this neat bit of advice : " You must have the 
bird in your heart before you can find it in the bush." 

With this directness and simplicity, that seem to be 
concerned merely with the plain record of facts, there 
is always a distinct literary flavor. Burroughs is a 
man of books, as well as a man of the woods. The 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 479 

volume ^^ Indoor Studies," containing his essays in lit- 
erary criticism, proves that his judgment in a matter 
of literary values may be quite as significant Literary 
as in the matter of a high-hole's method Growth 
of nest-building. Among the first books purchased 
by Burroughs was a set of Dr. Johnson's essays, and 
after the ponderous sentences of the "Rambler" he 
attempted to model his style. Then Emerson's works 
came into his experience, giving a new direction to 
both thought and style. And then came Whitman, 
whose " great humanizing power " he regards as the 
strongest influence exercised upon him through books. 
To Matthew Arnold he gives credit for having taught 
him to think clearly and write clearly. With all the 
great masters of modern literature he is familiar, but 
to original, elemental personalities, like Emerson, Car- 
lyle, and Whitman, he is especially drawn, because in 
these he finds the same directness and sincerity that 
he finds in nature. The rough, bold, unacademic ex- 
pression of such writers is to him like the language 
of winds, and waterfalls, and the untaught birds. But 
this preference does not prevent him from appreci- 
ating the more gracious and artistic influences of 
literature. Everywhere in his writing are touches of 
artistic beauty, descriptions of idyllic grace, facts 
of observation illuminated by fanciful suggestion and 
finely chosen literary allusion, and strokes of imagina- 
tive coloring that clearly indicate the kinship of his 
genius with that of the true poets. 



480 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

Burroughs is naturally compared with Thoreau, 
whom at many points he resembles, and to whom at 
many more points he is superior. Their comparative 
qualities Mabie thus summarizes: "Burroughs, like 
Thoreau, is strictly indigenous ; he could not have 
grown in any other soil. Our literature betrays, in 
Burroughs almost every notable work, the presence 
and Thoreau Qf foreign influences; but Thoreau and 
Burroughs have been fed by the soil, and have repro- 
duced in flower and fruit something of its distinctive 
quality. Of the two Thoreau had the more thorough 
formal education; but Burroughs shows keener sus- 
ceptibility to formative influences of all kinds. 
Thoreau had the harder mind, the nature of greater 
resisting power ; Burroughs is more sensitive to the 
atmosphere of his time, to the proximity of his fel- 
lows, and to the charms of art. Thoreau would have 
devoted more time to a woodchuck than to Carlyle, 
Arnold, or Whitman ; Burroughs emphasized his in- 
debtedness to Wordsworth, Arnold, Emerson, and 
Whitman. He has the more open mind, the quicker 
sympathies, the wider range. If he sometimes strikes 
us as less incisive and original than Thoreau, he is 
not less distinctly American, and there is a riper and 
saner quality in him. In Thoreau one is constantly 
aware of the element of wild life which still survives 
on this new continent. In Burroughs one feels the 
domesticity of nature ; one is aware at all times . of 
the simple, natural background of American life." 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 481 

Class Study. — Sharp Eyes ; An Idyl of the Honey Bee ; A 
Bunch of Herbs ; Winter Neighbors ; The Apple ; A Taste of 
Maine Birch. 

Class Reading. — A Sharp Lookout ; April ; Pepacton : a 
Summer Voyage ; Winter Pictures ; The Pastoral Bees ; Birds' 
Nesting ; The Return of the Birds. 



Associated with Burroughs in the beneficent work 
of extending the new friendship for nature, and re- 
sembling him in the method of work, are several 
writers whose numerous books already form a goodly 
library of natural history. Ernest Ingersoll clearly 
indicates the attitude he holds toward the nature-folk 
about him, and the spirit with which he writes of 
them, by the titles he chooses for his books, as 
" Wild Neighbors," " Country Cousins," and " Friends 
Worth Knowing." With a style of con- other Essay- 
vincing sincerity Bradford Torrey writes Jiaturaiists 
of his experiences with " Birds in the Bush," and of 
the beauty and wonder that most people never see 
along " The Footpath Way," and with the buoyant 
heartiness of the season reports the " Spring Notes 
from Tennessee." Every one who once catches the 
woodsy odors of Frank Bolles's books profoundly 
regrets that the author could not have lived to write 
many more essays like '' From Blomidon to Smoky " 
and " Land of the Lingering Snow." One of the most 
popular writers of this group is Olive Thorne Miller, 
who describes in an easy and familiar way her adven- 
tures with " Queer Pets at Marcy's," and many others. 
2 I 



482 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

" Little Brothers of the Air," " Little Folks in Feath- 
ers and Fur," '' Bird Ways," and " In Nesting Time," 
are some of her best books. A charming report of the 
tender and beautiful aspects of nature is " The Friend- 
ship of Nature," by Mabel Osgood Wright, whose 
other books, such as "Birdcraft" and "Four-footed 
Americans," are rapidly winning over hearts to her 
outdoor friends. A farmer essayist, like Burroughs, 
is Charles C. Abbott, whose essays are persuasive 
inducements to join him in the enjoyment of "Days 
Out-of-Doors," " Outings at Odd Times," " Travels in 
a Tree-top," or "The Freedom of the Fields." A 
peculiar interest attaches to the books of Roland 
Robinson, arising from the fact that after being 
stricken with blindness, he described nature with 
marvelous minuteness and accuracy, writing out of the 
fullness of a memory sustained by love. A passage 
from " In New England Fields and Woods " will illus- 
trate the sensitiveness to nature's obscurest activities 
that characterizes not only his writing, but that of 
all the essay-naturalists : — 

When the returned crows have become such familiar objects 
in the forlorn, unclad landscape of early spring that they have 
worn out their first welcome, and the earliest songbirds have 
come to stay, in spite of inhospitable weather that seems for 
days to set the calendar back a month, the woods invite you 
more than the fields. There nature is least under man's re- 
straint, and gives the first signs of her reawakening. In wind- 
less nooks the sun shines warmest between the meshes of the 
slowly drifting net of shadows. There are patches of moss on 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 483 

gray rocks and tree-trunks. Fairy islands of it, that will not 
be greener when they are wet with summer showers, rise among 
the brown expanse of dead leaves. The gray mist of branches 
and undergrowth is enlivened with a tinge of purple. Here 
and there the tawny mat beneath is uplifted by the struggling 
plant life below it, or pierced through by an underthrust of a 
sprouting seed. There is a promise of bloom in blushing ar- 
butus buds, a promise even now fulfilled by the first squirrel- 
cups just out of their furry bracts and already calling the bees 
abroad. Flies are buzzing to and fro in busy idleness, and a 
cricket stirs the leaves with a sudden spasm of movement. The 
first of the seventeen butterflies that shall give boys the freedom 
of bare feet goes wavering past like a drifting blossom. 

A true descendant of old Isaac Walton has appeared 
in Henry Van Dyke, for old Isaac loved the beauty 
and poetry of rippling water and velvet-turfed banks 
as much as he loved the shining fish. The more 
obvious literary intention of ^'Little Kivers" and 
"Fisherman's Luck" places them somewhat apart 
from the work of the naturalists. The lift that comes 
to flagging spirits from such books as these ^^^^ g . 
is like a whiff from a fresh mountain breeze, Lovers of 
that on its way to the valley has stolen the 
odors of wild grape and linden. A peculiarly de- 
lightful combination of fancy and naturalistic fact has 
been produced by Ernest Seton-Thompson, who has 
suddenly captivated the public with " Wild Animals I 
have Known," and " Lives of the Hunted." To art as 
well as to science and literature belong the charming 
books of William Hamilton Gibson, "Sharp Eyes," 
" Eye-spy," " My Studio Neighbors," and others, illus- 



484 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

trated with, loving fidelty by the author's own brush 
and pencil. Such books as these broaden life and make 
it sweeter and happier. 

A class of very useful and attractive scientific books 
for unscientific readers is represented by Mrs. Dana's 
(Mrs. F. T. Parsons) " How to Know the Wild Flowers " 
and "How to Know the Ferns," Alice Lounsberry's 
" Guide to the Trees/' ISTeltje Blanchan's " Bird Neigh- 
Deiightfui bors" and -^Nature's Garden," Frank M. 
Guidebooks Chapman's " Bird Studies with a Camera," 
W. J. Holland's "Butterfly Book," Samuel H. Scudder's 
" Frail Children of the Air," and A. Eadclyffe Dug- 
more's " Bird Homes." Such books as these lie along 
the borderlands of literature, rendering, however, a 
very definite service to culture. They are cleverly de- 
vised enticements to draw people into the fields and 
woods, to convert the listless reader of summer novels 
into a wide-awake observer of nature. They serve to 
convict one of his ignorance of the common things in 
nature about him, and to destroy the force of the usual 
apology for such ignorance. They furnish easy intro- 
ductions to the little people of field, forest, and sky, 
the value of whose ministrations to man we are just 
beginning to comprehend. 

From present tones and tendencies it is impossible 
to deduce any consistent theory or conclusion respect- 
ing the immediate future of American literature. 
There is a widely diffused and energetic exercise of 



x] PRESENT SCHOOLS AND TENDENCIES 485 

literary talent, but its force is largely dissipated in 

the trivial service of the hour. The concentration of 

purpose that constitutes the better part of genius, the 

serious discipline of taste, the austere devo- ^^ „ 

^ ' The Present 

tion to high ideals, the self-sacrificing re- and the 
jection of the advantages of temporary 
success in the hope of grasping the remoter possibili- 
ties of permanent fame, elements that always go to 
the making of masterpieces, are conspicuously want- 
ing in our present literary activities. A vigorous, 
vivid contemporaneity seems mainly to characterize 
the literary products of the period. The multitudi- 
nous energies of journalism are transforming and ab- 
sorbing the energies of pure literature ; and through 
the agencies of the ubiquitous newspaper and the 
public school a vast reading public has been created, 
which appears to be dominated by the tastes and 
standards represented by that ideal product of de- 
mocracy, the " average man." The final effect upon 
literature of the interaction of these three tremendous 
forces — free schools, journalism, and democracy — is 
matter for interesting speculation. But the question 
can be only speculative, for there are no precedents in 
the history of the world's literature by which the 
judgment can be guided, 

Por a number of years we seem to have been living 
in the twilight of that glorious day when the New 
England poets were in full voice, and Tennyson in old 
England was leading the Victorian choir. We have 



486 AMERICAN LITERATURE [chap. 

been eagerly watching for signs of the new day. But 
it may be that what we have regarded as evidences of 
a transition period are in reality the beginnings of an 
era of democratic diffusion and mediocrity. The old 
generation of poets has passed away. Of the second 
generation only Stoddard, Stedman, and Aldrich are 
left, and their voices are regrettably silent. There is 
little creative power manifest in poetry, and no signifi- 
cant products. There is some good work in history, 
and the field of biography is not altogether neglected. 
The revival of the drama, so confidently promised by 
Stedman many years ago, is still a forlorn hope. The 
only great literary successes are in fiction, and the 
character of these successes is strongly significant of 
the literary conditions of the period. A voracious 
public appetite for intellectual entertainment is an 
irresistible incentive to the mind of the prolific novel- 
ist. The superior intelligences, baffled in their pursuit 
of high aims, yield to the temptation of popular de- 
mand, and become pupils rather than instructors of 
popular tastes. Nevertheless, whether we regard pre- 
vailing tendencies as transitional, or experimental, or 
indicative of new standards, in the profusion and 
alertness and high average merit of the writing of the 
day there is ground for hope and confidence. There 
is a periodicity in the production of the finest fruits 
of art, as in the production of the finest fruits of 
nature; the springs of national genius are intermit- 
tent, and may be trusted to fulfill the law of their 



x] BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 487 

being. As the gateway of a new century opens, we 
may reasonably expect to catch, inspiring glimpses of 
the delectable mountains, at no great distance away, 
with crests already tinged with the ruddy hues of a 
new morn. 

BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 

From the following list of books a liberal selection 
should be made for the school library, to supplement 
the text work in American literature. The most valu- 
able, that is, those that should be procured first, are 
marked with an asterisk. A few of these books are 
out of print, and therefore unprocurable; but these 
will be found in all large libraries, and therefore have 
been included in the list for purposes of reference 
and critical comparison. 

* Adams, Oscar Fay. " A Dictionary of American Authors." 

1897. Houghton. 

Albee, John. " Remembrances of Emerson." 1901. Cooke. 

Alcott, Amos Bronson. " Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Esti- 
mate of his Character and Genius." 1882. Williams. 

Alcott, Amos Bronson. " Concord Days " [Emerson] . 1872. 
Little, Brown. 

* Allen, A. V. G. "Life of Jonathan Edwards." 1889. 

Houghton. 
Appleton's "Cyclopaedia of American Biography." 1898. 
Appleton. 

* Arnold, Matthew. "Discourses in America" [Emerson]. 

1885. Macmillan. 
Austin, George L. "Life and Times of Wendell Phillips." 
1884. Lee & Shepard. 



488 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

*Baskervill, William M. " Southern Writers " [Lanier, Har- 
ris, Cable, Page]. 1896. Barbee. 

Bates, Katharine Lee. " American Literature. " 1898. Mac- 
millan. 

Beers, Henry A. "A Century of American Literature." 1878. 
Holt. 

Beers, Henry A. " Initial Studies in American Letters." 
1891. Chautauqua Press. 

Beers, Henry A. "Nathaniel Parker Willis" (American Men 
of Letters). 1885. Houghton. 

* Beers, Henry A. "Prose Writings of Nathaniel Parker 
Willis." 1885. Scribner. 

Benton, Joel. " In the Poe Circle." 1899. Mansfield. 

♦Bigelow, John (Ed.). "Life of Benjamin Franklin, Written 
by Himself." 1868. Lippincott. 

*Bigelow, John. "William Cullen Bryant" (American Men 
of Letters). 1893. Houghton. 

*Birrell, Augustine. "Obiter Dicta." Second Series [Emer- 
son]. 1887. Scribner. 

Bolton, Sarah K. " Famous American Authors." 1887. Crowell. 

Boynton, Henry W. "Washington Irving" (Riverside Bio- 
graphical Series). 1901. Houghton. 

Bridge, Horatio. "Personal Recollections of Nathaniel Haw- 
thorne." 1893. Harper. 

Brooks, Noah. "Abraham Lincoln" (Heroes of the Nation). 
1897. Putnam. 

Brown, Emma E. "Life of James Russell Lowell." 1888. 
Lothrop. 

Brown, Emma E. "Life of Oliver Wendell Holmes." 1884. 
Lothrop. 

Bryant, William Cullen. " Orations and Addresses." 1873. 
Putnam. 

•Burroughs, John. "Birds and Poets" [Emerson]. 1877. 
Houghton. 

•Burroughs, John. " Indoor Studies " [Thoreau, Emerson]. 
1893. Houghton. 

•Burroughs, John. " Whitman ; A Study. " 1896. Houghton. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 489 

Burton, Richard. "Literary Likings" [Irving]. 1898. Cope- 
land. 

Burton, Richard. "John Greenleaf Whittier" (Beacon Biog- 
raphies). 1901. Small. 

* Cabot, James Elliot. "Memoir of Ralph Waldo Emerson." 

1887. Houghton. 

* Campbell, Helen. " Anne Bradstreet and her Time." 1891. 

Lothrop. 
Carpenter, George R. " American Prose." 1898. Macmillan. 
Carpenter, George R. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow" 

(Beacon Biographies). 1901. Small. 
*Cary, Edward. " George William Curtis" (American Men 

of Letters). 1894. Houghton. 
Chadwick, John W. " George William Curtis." 1893. Harper. 
Chamberlain, Mellen. "John Adams and Other Essays" 

[Webster]. 1898. Houghton. 

* Chamberlain, N. H. "Samuel Sewall and the World he 

lived in." 1897. DeWolfe. 
Channing, William Ellery. "Thoreau, the Poet-Naturalist." 
1873. Roberts. 

* Chapman, John Jay. " Emerson and Other Essays " [Whit- 

man]. 1898. Scribner. 
Cheney, Ednah D. "Louisa M. Alcott : Her Life, Letters, and 

Journals." 1889. Roberts. 
Cheney, John Vance. "That Dome in Air" [Emerson, 

Lowell, Whittier, Longfellow, Bryant, Whitman]. 1895. 

McClurg. 
Cheney, John Vance. "The Golden Guess" [Hawthorne]. 

1892. Lee & Shepard. 

* Chittenden, Lucius E. " Recollections of President Lincoln, 

and his Administration." 1891. Harper. 
*Claflin, Mary B. "Personal Recollections of Whittier." 

1893. Crowell. 

* Clarke, William. "Life of Walt Whitman." 1892. Mac- 

millan. 
Clemens, Samuel L. " How to tell a Story and Other Essays " 
[Cooper]. 1897. Harper. 



490 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Clymer, W. B. Shubrick. "James Fenimore Cooper" (Bea- 
con Biographies), 1901. Small. 

* Conway, Moncure D. "Emerson at Home and Abroad." 

1882. Houghton. 

* Conway, Moncure D. "Nathaniel Hawthorne" (Great Wri- 

ters). 1890. Walter Scott. 

* Cooke, George Willis. "Ralph Waldo Emerson: His Life, 

Writings, and Philosophy." 1881. Houghton. 
Crawford, F. Marion. "The Novel: What It Is." 1893. 

Macmillan. 
Curtis, George Ticknor. "Life of Daniel Webster." 1869. 

Appleton, 
Curtis, George William. "From the Easy Chair.". First and 

Third Series [Emerson, Hawthorne]. 1894. Harper. 

* Curtis, George William. "Literary and Social Essays" 

[Irving, Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Holmes]. 1894. 
Harper. 

* Curtis, George William. "Orations and Addresses," Vol. 

Ill [Bryant, Lowell, Phillips, Sumner]. 1894. Harper. 

* Curtis, George William (Ed.). "Correspondence of John 

Lothrop Motley." 1889. Harper. 
Dana, Richard H. "Address upon the Life and Public Ser- 
vices of Edward Everett. " 1865. Cambridge. 
Deshler, Charles D. "Afternoons with the Poets" [Bryant, 

Longfellow]. 1879. Harper. 
Donaldson, T. "Walt Whitman, the Man." 1896. F. T. 

Harper. 
Dowden, Edward. " Studies in Literature " [Whitman]. 1889. 

Kegan Paul. 
Duyckinck. "Cyclopaedia of American Literature." 1875. 

Philadelphia. 
Emerson, Edward Waldo. "Emerson in Concord." 1889. 

Houghton. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Miscellanies" [Lincoln]. 1878. 

Houghton. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. " Life and Letters in New England" 

[Everett]. Houghton. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 491 

Encyclopsedia Britannica. 1878-1889. 

* Everett, Edward, ''Orations and Speeches," Vols. II, III, 

IV [Prescott, Irving, Lincoln, Washington, Franklin, 
Webster]. 1872. Little, Brown. 
*Farnham, Charles Haight. "Life of Francis Parkman." 

1900. Little, Brown. 

Farrar, Rev. Frederick W. "Men I Have Known" [Holmes, 
Lowell, Whittier]. 1897. Scribner. 

* Fields, James T. " Yesterdays with Authors " [Hawthorne]. 

1876. Houghton. 

* Fields, Mrs. James T. "Authors and Friends" [Emerson, 

Holmes, Longfellow, Whittier]. 1896. Houghton. 

* Fields, Mrs. James T. "Nathaniel Hawthorne" (Beacon 

Biographies). 1899. Small. 

* Fields, Mrs. James T. ' ' Life and Letters of Harriet Beecher 

Stowe." 1897. Houghton. 
Fields, Mrs. James T. " Whittier : Notes of His Life and 

Friendships." 1893. Harper. 
Fiske, John. "A Century of Science and Other Essays" 

[Parkman]. 1899. Houghton. 
Fiske, John. "The Unseen World" [Longfellow]. 1876. 

Houghton. 
Flower, B. O. "Whittier: Prophet, Seer, and Man." 1896. 

Arena. 
*Ford, Paul Leicester. "The Many-sided Franklin." 1899. 

Century. 
Forster, Joseph. "Four Great Teachers " [Emerson]. 1890. 

Walter Scott. 
Friswell, J. Hain. "Modern Men of Letters" [Emerson, 

Longfellow]. 1870. London. 
* Frothingham, 0. B. "Transcendentalism in New England" 

[Emerson, Alcott]. 1876. Putnam. 
Fruit, John Phelps. "The Mind and Art of Poe's Poetry." 

1899. Barnes. 

* Garnett, Richard. " Ralph Waldo Emerson " (Great Writers). 

1888. Walter Scott. 
Garnett, Richard. "Essays of an Ex-Librarian" [Emerson]. 

1901. Dodd. 



492 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Gates, Lewis E. "Studies and Appreciations" [Hawthorne, 
Poe]. 1900. Macmillan. 

Gay, Sydney Howard. "James Madison" (American States- 
men). 1884. Houghton. 

* Gilder, J. L. and J. B. (Eds.). " Authors at Home " [Sketches 

of Twenty-five American Authors]. 1889. Cassell. 

Gilfillan, George. "Gallery of Portraits" [Emerson, Poe]. 
1855. Sheldon. 

Gill, William F. " Life of Edgar Allan Poe. " 1877. Dilling- 
ham. 

Gilman, Arthur. "Poets' Homes." 1879. Lothrop. 

* Godwin, Parke. "Life of William Cullen Bryant." 1883. 

Appleton. 

Godwin, Parke. "Out of the Past" [Bryant, Motley, Emer- 
son]. 1870. Putnam. 

Godwin, Parke. " Commemorative Addresses " [Bryant, Cur- 
tis]. 1895. Harper. 

Gosse, Edmund W. " Critical Kit-Kats" [Whitman]. 1896. 
Dodd. . 

Gosse, Edmund W. " Questions at Issue " [Poe]. 1893. Ap- 
pleton. 

*Grimk^, A. H. "Charles Sumner, the Scholar in Politics" 
(American Reformers). 1892. Funk. 

Grimm, Herman. " Literature" [Emerson]. 1886. Cupples. 

Griswold, H. T. "Personal Sketches of Recent Authors" 
[Ho wells, Stowe, Taylor, Thoreau, Alcott]. 1898. Mc- 
Clurg. 

Griswold, Rufus W. " Poets and Poetry of America." 1842. 
Philadelphia. 

Griswold, Rufus W. "Prose Writers of America." 1847. 
Philadelphia. 

Griswold, Rufus W. "Female Poets of America." 1849. 
Philadelphia. 

Griswold, Rufus W. "Biographical Sketch of Poe." 1850. 
Philadelphia. 

Guernsey, Alfred H. "Ralph Waldo Emerson, Philosopher 
and Poet." 1881. Appleton. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 493 

* Hale, Edward Everett. " Franklin in France. " 1887. Little, 

Brown. 
*Hale, Edward Everett. "Lowell and his Friends." 1899. 

Houghton. 
Hale, Edward Everett, Jr. "James Russell Lowell" (Beacon 

Biographies). 1899. Small. 
Halsey, Francis Whiting. "American Authors and their 

Homes" [Stoddard, Stockton, Burroughs, Aldrich, and 

Others]. 1901. James Pott. 
*Hapgood, Norman. "Abraham Lincoln: The Man of the 

People." 1900. Macmillan. 
Hapgood, Norman. " Daniel Webster " (Beacon Biographies). 

1899. Small. 
Harrison, Frederic. " George Washington and Other Ameri- 
can Addresses." 1901. Macmillan. 
Harvard Graduates' Magazine. ' ' Autobiography of Francis 

Parkman." June, 1895. 
Haweis, H. R. " American Humorists." 1883. Funk. 
Haweis, H. R. "Poets in the Pulpit" [Longfellow]. 1880. 

Sampson Low. 
Hawthorne, Julian. " Confessions and Criticisms " [Emerson]. 

1887. Houghton. 

* Hawthorne, Julian. "Nathaniel Hawthorne and His Wife." 

1885. Houghton. 

Hayne, Paul H. "Memoir of Henry Timrod." Timrod's 
Poems. 1873. Hale. 

Hazletine, Mayo W. "Chats about Books, Poets, and Novel- 
ists" [Longfellow, Whittier, Hawthorne, Harte, James], 
1883. Scribner. 

Hazlitt, William. " Spirit of the Age " [Irving]. 1825. London. 

*Herndon, William H. "Abraham Lincoln: True Story of a 
Great Life." 1892. Appleton. 

*Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. "Contemporaries" [Emer- 
son, Whittier, Lanier, Sumner, Phillips, Whitman]. 1899. 
Houghton. 

*Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. "Francis Higginson. " 
(Makers of America). 1891. Dodd. 



494 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

*Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. "Margaret Fuller Ossoli" 
(American Men of Letters). 1884. Houghton. 

*Higgmson, Thomas Wentworth. "Old Cambridge" [Long- 
fellow, Lowell, Holmes]. 1899. Macmillan. 

*Higginson, Thomas Wentworth. "Short Studies of Ameri- 
can Authors" [Hawthorne, Poe, Thoreau, Ho wells, James]. 
1880. Lee & Shepard. 

Hill, David J. "Life of William Cullen Bryant." 1879. 
Sheldon. 

Hill, David J. " Life of Washington Irving." 1879. Sheldon. 

Holmes, Edmond. " Walt Whitman's Poetry: A Study and a 
Selection." 1901. Lane. 

* Holmes, Oliver Wendell. " Ralph Waldo Emerson " (Ameri- 

can Men of Letters). 1885. Houghton. 

* Holmes, Oliver Wendell. " John Lothrop Motley : A Biogra- 

phy." 1879. Houghton. 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell. "Pages from an Old Volume of 

Life" [Edwards]. 1883. Houghton. 
" Homes of American Authors." 1857. Appleton. 
Howe, Julia Ward. "Reminiscences" [Phillips]. 1899. 

Houghton. 
Howe, Julia Ward. "Margaret Fuller" (Famous Women). 

1883. Little, Brown. 
*Howe, M. A. DeWolf. " American Bookmen." 1898. Dodd. 
Howells, William D. " Criticism and Fiction." 1891. Harper. 
Ho wells, William D. "My Literary Passions " [Irving, Curtis]. 

1895. Harper. 

* Howells, William D. " Literary Friends and Acquaintance " 

[Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes]. 1900. Harper. 

Howells, William D. "Heroines of Fiction," Vol.1 [Haw- 
thorne]. 1901. Harper. 

Hubbard, Elbert. "Little Journeys to the Homes of Ameri- 
can Authors. " 1896. Putnam. 

-*Hunt, Theodore W. "Studies in Literature and Style" 
[Emerson]. 1890. Armstrong. 

*Hutton, Richard Holt. "Literary Essays" [Hawthorne]. 
1888. Macmillan. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 495 

Ireland, Alexander. " In Memoriam : Emerson." 1882. London. 
"Irvingiana." 1860. Richardson. 

* Irving, Pierre M. " Life and Letters of Washington Irving." 

1862. Putnam. 

* James, Henry. "Essays in London" [Lowell]. 1893. 

Harper. 

* James, Henry. "Nathaniel Hawthorne" (English Men of 

Letters). 1880. Harper. 

* James, Henry. "Partial Portraits" [Emerson]. 1888. 

Macmillan. 
Jeffrey, Francis. " Modern British Essayists," Vol. VI 
[Irving]. 1822. 

* Johnson, Charles F. "Three Englishmen and Three Ameri- 

cans" [Longfellow, Hawthorne, Emerson]. 1886. Whitta- 
ker. 
Jerrold, Walter. "Oliver Wendell Holmes" (Dilettante Li- 
brary) . 1893. Macmillan. 

* Kennedy, W. Sloane. " John Greenleaf Whittier, the Poet of 

Freedom " (American Reformers) . 1892. Funk. 
Kennedy, W. Sloane. "John Greenleaf Whittier: His Life, 
Genius, and Writings." 1882. Cassino. 

* Kennedy, W. Sloane. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow." 

1884. Lothrop. 

* Kennedy, W. Sloane. " Oliver Wendell Holmes : Poet, 

Litterateur, Scientist." 1883. Cassino. 
Kennedy, W. Sloane. "Reminiscences of Walt Whitman." 

1896. London. 

*Lang, Andrew. "Letters on Literature" [Longfellow]. 

1892. London. 
*Lang, Andrew. "Letters to Dead Authors" [Poe]. 1893. 

Scribner. 
Lanier, Sidney. "Music and Poetry" [Hayne]. 1898. 

Scribner. 

* Lathrop, George Parsons. " A Study of Hawthorne." 1876. 

Houghton. 

* Lathrop, Rose Hawthorne. "Memories of Hawthorne." 

1897. Houghton. 



496 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Lawton, William Cranston. "The New England Poets." 

1898. Macmillan. 
*Link, Samuel Albert. "Pioneers of Southern Literature." 

1898. Barbee. 
Linton, W. J. "John Greenleaf Whittier" (Great Writers). 

1893. Walter Scott. 
Lodge, Henry Cabot. "Certain Accepted Heroes and Other 

Essays" [Holmes]. 1897. Harper. 

* Lodge, Henry Cabot. "Alexander Hamilton" (American 

Statesmen). 1882. Houghton. 

* Lodge, Henry Cabot. "George Washington" (American 

Statesmen). 1889. Houghton. 

* Lodge, Henry Cabot. "Studies in History" [Webster]. 

1884. Houghton. 

* Longfellow, Samuel. ' ' Life of Henry Wadsworth Longfel- 

low." 1886. Houghton. 

* Longfellow, Samuel. "Final Memorials of Henry Wadsworth 

Longfellow." 1887. Houghton. 
*Lounsbury, Thomas R. "James Fenimore Cooper" (Ameri- 
can Men of Letters). 1883. Houghton. 

* Lowell, James Russell. "Literary Essays." Prose Works, 

Vol. I [Emerson, Thoreau]. 1871. Houghton. 

* Lowell, James Russell. "Political Essays." Prose Works, 

Vol. V [Lincoln]. 1871. Houghton. 
*McMaster, John Bach. "Benjamin Franklin as a Man of 

Letters" (American Men of Letters). 1888. Houghton. 
*Martyn, Carlos. " Wendell Phillips " (American Reformers). 

1890. Funk. 
Massachusetts Historical Society. "Tributes to Longfellow 

and Emerson." 1883. Williams. 

* Matthews, Brander. "Americanisms and Briticisms" 

[Cooper, Curtis, Higginson]. 1892. Harper. 

Matthews, Brander. " Aspects of Fiction" [American Litera- 
ture]. 1896. Harper. 

Matthews, Brander. "Penandink" [Poe]. 1894. Longmans. 

Mitchell, Donald G. "American Lands and Letters." 1899. 
Scribner. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 497 

Mitchell, Donald G. "Bound Together" [Irving]. 1888. 
Scribner. 

Mitford, Mary Russell. "Recollections of a Literary Life" 
[Longfellow, Whittier]. 1859. London. 

*Morley, John. "Ralph Waldo Emerson: An Essay." 1884. 
Macmillan. 

More, Paul Elmer. "Benjamin Franklin" (Riverside Bio- 
graphical Series). 1901. Houghton. 

* Morse, John T. "Benjamin Franklin" (American States- 

men). 1889. Houghton. 

* Morse, John T. ' ' Abraham Lincoln " (American Statesmen) . 

1893. Houghton. 

* Morse, John T. " Life and Letters of Oliver Wendell Holmes." 

1897. Houghton. 
Morse, John T. "Thomas Jefferson" (American Statesmen), 

1897. Houghton. 
Neilson, Joseph. "Memories of Rufus Choate." 1884. 

Houghton. 
Nichol, John. "American Literature." 1882. Edinburgh. 
Nicolay, J. G., and Hay, J. "Abraham Lincoln: A History." 

1890. Century. 
Noble, Charles. "Studies in American Literature." 1898. 

Macmillan. 

* Norton, Charles Eliot (Ed.). "Letters of James Russell 

Lowell." 1894. Harper. 

* Norton, Charles Eliot (Ed.). "Correspondence of Carlyle 

and Emerson." 1885. Houghton. 
Onderdonk, James L. "History of American Verse." 1901. 

McClurg. 
Page [Japp], H. A. " Memoir of Nathaniel Hawthorne." 

1872. London. 

* Page, H. A. " Thoreau, His Life and Aims." 1877. Osgood. 
*Parton, James. "Famous Americans of Recent Times" 

[Webster]. 1867. Houghton. 
*Parton, James. "Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin." 

1864. Houghton. 
Parton, James. "Life of Horace Greeley." 1855. Houghton. 
2k: 



498 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Parton, James. "Noted Princes, Authors, and Statesmen of 

Our Time" [Longfellow, Emerson, Whittier, Prescott]. 

1885. Crowell. 
Peck, Harry Thurston. "The Personal Equation" [Howells]. 

1898. Harper. 
Phelps- Ward, Elizabeth Stuart. "Chapters From a Life" 

[Holmes, Longfellow, Whittier, Stowe]. 1896. Houghton.. 
*Pickard, Samuel T. "Life and Letters of John Greenleaf 

Whittier." 1894. Houghton, 

* Pierce, Edward L. ' ' Memoirs and Letters of Charles Sumner." 

1893. Little, Brown. 
Poe, Edgar Allan. "The Literati" [Critical Notices of Poe's 

Contemporaries]. 1850. 
Prescott, William H. " Biographical and Critical Miscellanies " 

[Brown]. 1852. Lippincott. 
Rhys, Ernest. Introduction to "Poems of Walt Whitman" 

(Canterbury Poets) . Walter Scott. 

* Richardson, Charles F. "American Literature." 1889. 

Putnam. 
Robertson, Eric S. " Henry W. Longfellow " (Great Writers). 

1887. Walter Scott. 
Robertson, John M. " Modern Humanists " [Emerson]. 1891. 

London. 

* Robertson, John M. " New Essays toward a Critical Method " 

[Poe]. 1897. Lane. 

Robins, Edward. " Life of Benjamin Franklin." 1898. Putnam. 

Roosevelt, Theodore, and Lodge, H. C. "Hero Tales from 
American History " [Parkman]. 1895. Century. 

Rossetti, William M. " Lives of Famous Poets " [Longfellow]. 
1878. London. 

Sainte-Beuve, Charles Augustin. " English Portraits" [Frank- 
lin]. 1875. Jlolt. 

Salt, H. S. " Life of Henry David Thoreau." 1890. London. 

* Sanborn, Frank B. ' ' Henry David Thoreau ' ' (American 

Men of Letters). 1882. Houghton. 

* Sanborn, Frank B. " The Genius and Character of Emer- 

son." 1885. Houghton. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 499 

Santayana, George. "Poetry and Religion" [Emerson], 1900. 
Scribner. 

Saunders, Frederick. "Character Studies" [Irving, Long- 
fellow, Bryant]. 1894. Whittaker. 

*Schurz, Carl. "Abraham Lincoln: an Essay." 1891. 
Houghton. 

*Scudder, Horace E. "Men and Letters" [Emerson, Long- 
fellow]. 1887. Houghton. 

*Scudder, Horace E. "James Russell Lowell: a Biography." 
1901. Houghton. 

Shepard [Walsh] William. " Pen Pictures of Earlier Victorian 
Authors" [Irving, Poe]. 1884. Putnam. 

* Shepard, William. "Pen Pictures of Modern Authors" 

[Longfellow, Lowell, Holmes, Whittier, Emerson, Haw- 
thorne]. 1886. Putnam. 

Smalley, George W. "Studiesof Men" [Holmes]. 1895. Harper. 

Smith, George Barnett. "Poets and Novelists " [Hawthorne]. 
1876. Appleton. 

* Smyth, Albert H. "Bayard Taylor" (American Men of 

Letters). 1896. Houghton. 
Sparks, Edwin Erie. "The Men Who Made the Nation" 

[Franklin, Webster, Lincoln]. 1900. Macmillan. 
Sparks, Jared. "American Biographies," Vol. I [Brown]. 

1853. Harper. 
Stearns, Frank Preston. "Sketches from Concord and Apple- 

dore." 1895. Putnam. 
*Stedman, Edmund Clarence. "An American Anthology." 

1900. Houghton. 
*Stedman, Edmund Clarence. "Poets of America." 1885. 

Houghton. 

* Stedman and Hutchinson (Eds.). " Library of American Lit- 

erature." 11 vols. 1888-1890. 
Stedman and Woodberry. " Works of Edgar Allan Poe, newly 
collected and edited, with a Memoir, Critical Introductions, 
and Notes." 1894. Stone. 

* Stephen, Leslie. "Hours in a Library." First Series [Haw- 

thorne]. 1875. Second Series [Edwards]. 1881. Putnam. 



500 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

* Stephen, Leslie. "Studies of a Biographer." Vol. II 

[Holmes]. 1898. Putnam. 

* Stevenson, Robert Louis. "Familiar Studies of Men and 

Books" [Thoreau, Whitman]. 1887. Dodd. 
Stoddard, Richard Henry (Ed.). "American Poets and their 
Homes." 1877. Lothrop. 

* Storey, Moorfield. "Charles Sumner" (American States- 

men). 1900. Houghton. 

* Symington, A. J. "Life of William Cullen Bryant." 1880. 

Harper. 

* Symonds, J. Addington. " Walt Whitman, a Study." 1896. 

London. 

* Taylor, Bayard. "Critical Essays and Literary Notes" 

[Notices of eighteen American authors]. 1880. Putnam. 

* Taylor, Marie Hansen, and Scudder, H. E. "Life and Let- 

ters of Bayard Taylor." 1884. Houghton. 

* Thackeray, William Makepeace. " Roundabout Papers " (Nil 

Nisi Bonum) [Irving]. 1863. 

* Ticknor, George. ' ' Life of William Hickling Prescott.' ' 

1864. Osgood. 
Todd, C.B. " Life and Letters of Joel Barlow." 1886. Putnam. 

* Trent, William P. "William Gilmore Simms" (American 

Men of Letters). 1896. Houghton. 

* Trent, William P., and Wells, B. W. (Eds.). "Colonial 

Prose and Poetry." 1901. Crow^ell. 

Tuckerman, Henry T. "Essays Biographical and Critical" 
[Franklin, Brown]. 1857. Phillips, Sampson. 

*Twichell, Joseph H. "John Winthrop " (Makers of Amer- 
ica). 1891. Dodd. 

* Tyler, Moses Coit. " A History of American Literature dur- 

ing the Colonial Time." 1878. Putnam. 

* Tyler, Moses Coit. "The Literary History of the American 

Revolution." 1897. Putnam. 

* Tyler, Moses Coit. "Three Men of Letters" [Dwight, Bar- 

low]. 1895. Putnam. 

* Tyler, Moses Coit. " Patrick Henry " (American Statesmen). 

1897. Houghton. 



BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM 501 

Underwood, Francis H. "Builders of American Literature." 
1893. Lee & Shepard. 

* Underwood, Francis H. "Henry Wadsworth Longfellow: a 

Biographical Sketch." 1882. Houghton. 

* Underwood, Francis H. "James Russell Lowell: a Bio- 

graphical Sketch." 1881. Houghton. 

* Underwood, Francis H. "John Greenleaf Whittier : a Biog- 

raphy," 1883. Houghton. 

* Underwood, Francis H. " The Poet and the Man : Recollec- 

tions and Appreciations of James Russell Lowell." 1893. 
Lee & Shepard. 
*Vedder, Henry C. "American Writers of To-Day." 1895. 
Silver. 

* Warner, Charles Dudley. "Life of Captain John Smith." 

1881. Putnam. 

* Warner, Charles Dudley. "Washington Irving" (American 

Men of Letters). 1882. Houghton, 

* Warner, Charles Dudley. "The Work of Washington Irv- 

ing." 1893. Harper. 
Warner, Charles Dudley (Ed.). " Library of the World's Best 

Literature." 30 vols. 1896. 
Warner, Bryant, and Putnam. "Studies of Irving." 1880. 

Putnam. 
Watson, William. "Excursions in Criticism" [Lowell]. 

1893. Macmillan. 
Webster, Fletcher (Ed). " Private Correspondence of Daniel 

Webster." 1857. Little, Brown, 
Welsh, Alfred H. "Development of English Literature and 

Language." 1882. Griggs, 

* Wendell, Barrett. "Cotton Mather" (Makers of America). 

1891. Dodd. 

* Wendell, Barrett. " Stelligeri, and Other Essays concerning 

America" [Lowell, Whittier]. 1893. Scribner, 

* Wendell, Barrett. " A Literary History of America." 1901. 

Scribner. 
Whipple, Edwin P. "Character and Characteristic Men" 
[Hawthorne, Everett]. 1866. Houghton. 



5Q2 AMERICAN LITERATURE 

Whipple, Edwin P. "Essays and Reviews" [Longfellow, 
Holmes, Whittier, Prescott]. 1850. Houghton. 

* Whipple, Edwin P. " Literature and Life " [Bryant]. 1849. 

Houghton. 

* Whipple, Edwin P. "Recollections of Eminent Men" [Em- 

erson, Motley, Sumner]. 1878. Houghton. 

* Whipple, Edwin P. "American Literature, and Other Pa- 

pers." 1887. Houghton. 

* Whipple, Edwin P. "Outlooks on Society, Literature, and 

Politics" [Lowell]. 1888. Houghton. 

*Whitcomb, Selden L. "Chronological Outlines of American 
Literature." 1894. Macmillan. 

Whittier, John Greenleaf. "Literary Recreations" [Long- 
fellow, Holmes]. 1854. Houghton. 

Wilkinson, William Cleaver. "A Free Lance in the Field of 
Life and Letters" [Bryant, Lowell]. 1874. Mason. 

Willis, N. P. " Hurry-graphs " [Irving, Poe, Emerson] . 1853. 
Scribner. 

* Wilson, James Grant. "Bryant and his Friends." 1886. 

Fords. 

* Wilson, James Grant. "Life and Letters of Fitz-Greene 

Halleck." 1869. Appleton. 

* Winter, William. "George William Curtis: a Eulogy." 

1893. Macmillan. 

* Winter, William. "English Rambles, and Other Fugitive 

Pieces" [Longfellow]. 1883. Osgood. 

* Winter, William. "Old Shrines and Ivy" [Longfellow, 

Cooper]. 1892. Macmillan. 

* Wolfe, Theodore F. " Literary Shrines : the Haunts of Some 

Famous American Authors. " 1897. Lippincott. 
*Woodberry, George E. "Makers of Literature" [Lowell, 
Whittier]. 1900. Macmillan. 

* Woodberry, George E. " Edgar Allan Poe " (American Men 

of Letters). 1888. Houghton. 

* Woodbury, Charles J. " Talks with Ralph Waldo Emerson." 

1890. Baker. 



INDEX 



Abbott, Charles Conrad, 482. 

Abolition, 208, 211. 

Adams, Hannah, 350. 

Adams, Henry, 377. 

Adams, John, 63, 72, 79, 84, 85. 

Adams, Samuel, 63, 64, 79. 

Addison's "Spectator," 69, 76 
95, 113, 120, 412. 

Alcott, Amos Bronson, 161, 204. 

Alcott, Louisa May, 205. 

Aldrich, Thomas Bailey, 383, 398- 
404. 

Allen, James Lane, 339, 345. 

Allston, Washington, 113, 144. 

"Almanac, Poor Richard's," 73. 

Alsop, Richard, 95. 

Americanism, Birth of, 60; ideal, 
82. 

Ames, Fisher, 85. 

" Annuals," The age of, 156. 

Arnold, Matthew, 177, 286, 411, 
479. 

Art, Beginnings of, 98. 

"Atlantic Monthly, The," 255, 
293. 

Austen, Jane, 441. 

' ' Autocrat of the Breakfast Ta- 
ble," 293. 



Bacon, 15. 

Ballads, 87. 

Bancroft, George, 349, 354-357 

364. 
Barlow, Joel, 90-92. 
"Bay Psalm Book, The," 49. 



Beecher, Henry Ward, 230-231, 

248. 
Beecher, Lyman, 168. 
Beers, Henry A., quoted, 119, 157, 

250, 271, 393. 
Belknap, Jeremy, 350. 
Beverly, Robert, 22. 
Bigelow, John, 77. 
"Biglow Papers," 277. 
Bird, Robert Montgomery, 126. 
Blair, James, 22. 
Blanchan, Nelje, 484. 
" Blithedale Romance, The," 

200. 
Boker, George Henry, 409. 
Bolles, Frank, 481. 
Boyesen, Hjalmar Hjorth, 425, 

457. 
Brackenridge, Hugh Henry, 96. 
Bradford, William, 27-29, 349. 
Bradstreet, Anne, 50-53, 140, 289. 
Brook Farm, 161, 165, 193, 201. 
Brooks, Maria, 144. 
Brown, Charles Brockden, 99- 

103. , 

Browne, Charles Farrar (" Arte- 

mus Ward"), 466, 468. 
Brownell, Henry Howard, 409. 
Bryant, Williaih Cullen, 94, 97, 

110, 127-137, 141, 150, 266, 383. 
Bryce, James, quoted, 210, 226. 
Bunner, Henry Cuyler, 410. 
Burke, Edmund, 59, 63, 66, 85, 

221. 
Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 457. 
503 



504 



INDEX 



Burns, 94, 473. 

Burroughs, John, 182, 294, 474, 

476-481. 
Burton, Richard, quoted, 337. 
Burwell Papers, The, 22. 
Butler's " Hudibras," 89, 90. 
Bynner, Edwin Lassetter, 457. 
Byrd, William, 23. 
Byron, Lord, 115, 120. 

Cable, George Washington, 339- 

341. 
Calhoun, John C, 208, 211. 
Calvinism, 34, 163, 164, 167, 168. 
Campbell, Thomas, 95, 115, 122. 
Carleton, Will, 463. 
Carlyle, 160, 161, 162, 170, 172, 

177, 217, 348. 
Carman, Bliss, 475. 
Cary, Alice, and Phoebe, 409. 
Catherwood, Mary Hartwell, 

457, 464. 
Cavaliers, The, in Virginia, 17. 
Channing, William Ellery, 140, 

160, 163-165, 254. 
Channing, William Ellery (poet) , 

206. 
Chapman, Frank M., 484. 
Chaucer, 9, 77. 

Choate, Rufus, 211, 221, 224-225. 
Churchill, Winston, 457. 
Cicero, and Webster, 220. 
Civil War, The, 19, 208, 304, 322. 
Clarke, James Freeman, 161, 164, 

166. 
Clay, Henry, 209, 211. 
Clemens, Samuel Langhorne 

(" Mark Twain "), 469-472. 
Coleridge, 160, 316. 
" Columbiad," Barlow's, 91. 
" Concord School, The," 160. 
" Conquest of Canaan," 92. 
Constitution, The, 80, 83, 208. 
Cooke, John Esten, 307. 
Cooke, Philip Pendleton, 306. 



Cooke, Rose Terry, 455. 
Cooper, James Fenimore, 99, 

109, 110. 144-155, 157. 
Cotton, John, 34, 47. 
" Craddock, Charles Egbert" 

(Miss Murf ree) , 343. 
Cranch, Christopher Pearse, 206. 
Crawford, Francis Marion, 448- 

450. 
Curtis, George William, 161, 

383, 413-419; quoted, 77, 135, 

173, 177, 193, 196, 198, 226, 271. 

Dana, Richard Henry, 52, 139, 
412. 

Dana, Mrs. William Star, 484. 

" Day of Doom, The " (Wiggles- 
worth) , 53. 

"Declaration of Independence, 
The," 81, 86. 

DeFoe, 77, 451, 452. 

Deland, Margaret, 455. 

Democracy, 432, 458. 

Dewey, Orville, 167. 

" Dial, The," 162, 204. 

Dickinson, Emily, 206. 

Dobson, Austin, 318, 410. 

Dorr, Julia C.R., 454. 

Dowden, Edward, quoted, 434. 

Drake, Joseph Rodman, 1.38, 141. 

Drama, Beginnings of, 98. 

Drayton, Michael, 16. 

Dugmore, A. Radclyffe, 484. 

Dunlap, William, 99. 

Dwight, Timothy, 88, 90, 92, 95, 



Edwards, Jonathan, 42-46, 164. 
Eggleston, Edward, 377, 461. 
Eliot, George, and Emerson, 174. 
Eliot, John, 36, 49. 
" Elsie Venner," 294, 300. 
Emerson, Ralph Waldo, 12, 13, 

94, 109, 160, 162, 168-184, 185, 

188. 264, 412. 414. 



INDEX 



505 



English literature, Contempo- 
rary, 14, 55, 98, 110, 256. 

Essays, Political, 62. 

" Evangeline," 263. 

Everett, Edward, 211, 220, 223- 
224, 254. 

Fawcett, Edgar, 410. 

"Federalist, The," 83. 

Federalists and Anti-Federalists, 
83, 95. 

Fiction, Beginnings of, in 
America, 99; "nightmare 
school" of, 101; universality 
of, 435. 

Field, Eugene, 463. 

Fields, James T., 196, 197, 255. 

Fields, Mrs. James T., 250. 

Fiske, John, quoted, 25, 64, 79, 
83,215, 377; historian, 378. 

Foote, Mary Halleck, 464. 

Ford, Paul Leicester, 457. 

Foster, Stephen Collins, 306. 

Franklin, Benjamin, 67-79, 86. 

"Freedom of the Will" (Ed- 
wards), 45. 

French, Alice ("Octave Tha- 
net"),464. 

Freneau, Philip, 89, 93-95. 

Fuller, Henry Blake, 465. 

Fuller, Margaret, 161, 204, 269. 

Furness, Horace Howard, 425. 

Garland, Hamlin, 458, 464. 
Garnett, Richard, quoted, 121. 
Garrison, William Lloyd, 209, 

211, 228, 234, 236. 
Gibbon, 353, 377. 
Gibson, William Hamilton, 483. 
Gilder, Richard Watson, 408. 
Gladstone, 80, 84. 
Godfrey, Thomas, 55. 
Gookin, Daniel, 32. 
Gosse, Edmund, quoted, 180,296, 

318, 433. 



Grant, Ulysses S., 380. 

Greeley, Horace, on Franklin, 

77. 
Green, John Richard, 354. 

Hadley, James, 425. 
"Hail Columbia," 88. 
Hale, Edward Everett, 452. 
Hall, Judge James, 126. 
Halleck, Fitz-Greene, 137, 141. 
Hamilton, Alexander, 79, 82-84, 

86. 
Hammond, John, 22. 
Hancock, John, 63, 64. 
Hardy, Arthur Sherburn, 456. 
Harris, Joel Chandler, 34, 304, 

339, 341-343. 
Harte, Francis Bret, 459-461. 
" Hartford Wits," The, 90, 95. 
Harvard College, 24, 253. 
Hawthorne, Julian, 456. 
Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 12, 26, 

30, 36, 40, 91, 161, 175, 190-204, 

255, 264, 320, 414, 437. 
Hay, John, 463. 
Hayne, Paul Hamilton, 323, 325- 

330, 333. 
Henry, Patrick, 63, 65, 79, 208. 
"Hiawatha," 264. 
Higginson, Francis, 32, 35. 
Higginson, Thomas Wentworth, 

377, 419-421; quoted, 102, 161, 

206, 223, 337, 443. 
Hildreth, Richard, 349, 377. 
Hillhouse, James Abraham, 143. 
Hoffman, James Fenno, 142. 
Holland, Josiah Gilbert, 424. 
Holland, W. J., 484. 
Holmes, Abiel, 350. 
Holmes, Oliver Wendell, 52, 109, 

119, 172, 173, 176, 179, 224, 245, 

252, 254, 289-303, 410. 
Hooker, Thomas, 34. 
Hopkinson, Francis, 88, 89. 
Hopkinson, Joseph, 88. 



506 



INDEX 



"House of Seven Gables, The," 

194. 
Howe, Mrs. Julia Ward, 409. 
Howells, William Dean, 252, 285, 

425, 438-445, 448, 453, 457. 
Hubbard, William, 32. 
Hudson, Henry Norman, 425. 
Hume, Influence of, 67. 
Humor, American, 422, 465-467. 
Humphreys, David, 95. 
Hutchinson, Thomas, 33. 
Hutton, Richard Holt, quoted, 

202. 

Ingersoll, Ernest, 481. 

"Ik Marvel" (D. G. Mitchell), 

423. 
Irving, Washington, 96, 109, 110, 

111-123, 148, 379, 437. 

Jackson, Helen Hunt (" H. H."), 

206. 
James, Henry, 178, 200, 281, 287, 

425, 445-448. 
James I, and the Puritans, 23. 
Jay, John, 79, 83, 86. 
Jefferson, Thomas, 65, 72, 79, 80- 

82, 86. 
Jeffries, Richard, 474. 
Jewett, Sarah Orne, 250, 454. 
Johnson, Dr. Samuel, 61, 84. 
Johnson, Edward, 32. 
Johnston, Mary, 457. 
Johnston, Richard Malcolm, 338, 

346. 

Kennedy, John Pendleton, 126, 

306, 314. 
Key, Francis Scott, 88. 
King, Captain Charles, 464. 
King, Grace, 347. 
Kirkland, Mrs. Caroline M., 126. 
" Knickerbocker Magazine," 111. 
" Knickerbocker's History of 

New York," 113. 
Knight, Sarah Kemble, 33. 



Lamb, Charles, 104, 316, 413, 421. 
Lanier, Sidney, 323, 330-338, 426. 
Larcom, Lucy, 454. 
Lathrop, George Parsons, quoted, 

403. 
" Leather Stocking Tales," 147, 

148, 150. 
Lee, Richard Henry, 63, 65. 
Leland, Charles Godfrey, 409. 
Lewis and Clark Expedition, 

107. 
Lincoln, Abraham, 76, 211, 228- 

230, 247, 292. 
Livingston, William, 55, 96. 
Locke, John, Influence of , 81. 
Lodge, Henry Cabot, 301, 425. 
Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth, 

30, 127, 238, 245, 254, 257-273, 

317. 
Longstreet, Augustus Baldwin, 

126, 305. 
Lounsberry, Alice, 484. 
Lounsbury, Thomas Raynesford, 

151, 153, 154, 425. 
Lowell, James Russell, 254, 268, 

271, 274-289, 410; quoted, 10, 

17, 55, 157, 162, 172, 175, 179, 

188, 198, 201, 237, 245, 267, 270, 

300, 316, 416. 
Loyalists, The, 60. 

Mabie, Hamilton W., quoted, 

230. 
Macaulay, 348, 369, 412. 
Madison, James, 79, 83, 86. 
"Magnalia Christi Americana" 

(Mather), 39,47. 
"Marble Faun, The," 195, 201, 

265. 
Marshall, John, 379. 
Mason, John, 32. 
" Massachusetts Bay, History 

of" (Hutchinson), 33. 
Mather, Cotton, 38-42, 51, 179. 
Mather, Increase, 37. 



INDEX 



507 



Matthews, Brander, quoted, 457. 
" McFingal," Trumbull's, 89. 
McMaster, John Bach, 378. 
Melville, Herman, 456. 
Miller, Cincinnatus Heine, 4(i3. 
Miller, Olive Thorne, 481. 
Mitchell, Donald Grant, 412, 423. 
Mitchell, Dr. S. Weir, 457. 
Morris, George Perkins, 142, 157. 
Morton, Nathaniel, 32. 
" Mosses from an Old Manse," 

193, 199. 
Motley, John Lothrop, 349, 364- 

370. 
Miiller, Max, quoted, 168. 
Murfree, Mary Noailles, 343. 

Neal, John, 100. 

"New England, Chronological 

History of" (Prince), 27, 32. 
New England, Effect of Puritan- 
ism on, 47. 
" New England, Good News 

from" (Winslow),32. 
"New England, History of" 

( Winthrop) , 29. 
" New England Primer," 35. 
" New England's Memorial " 

(Morton) , 27, 32. 
" New England's Plantation " 

(Higginson) , 32. 
"New England's Prospect" 

(Wood), 32. 
Newspaper, The, 211. 
Nichol's " American Literature," 

quoted, 150. 
Norton, Andrews, 167. 
Norton, Charles Eliot, 267, 287. 

O'Brien, Fitz-James, 456. 
Odell, Jonathan, 89. 
O'Hara, Theodore, 306, 346. 
Oratory, Political, 62; of the 

Revolution, 63. 
Otis, James, 63, 79. 



Page, Thomas Nelson, 338, 339, 

;344. 
Paine, Robert Treat, 88. 
Paine, Thomas, 66. 
Palfrey, John Gorham, 167, 378. 
Parker, Theodore, 161, 165-166. 
Parkman, Francis, 242, 349, 370- 

377. 
Parton, James, 222, 379. 
Paulding, James Kirke, 109, 124, 

126. 
Payne, John Howard, 99, 142. 
Peabody, Elizabeth, 161. 
Peck, Harry Thurston, quoted, 

220. 
Peck, Samuel Minturn, 410. 
Percival, James Gates, 143. 
Phelps-Ward, Elizabeth Stuart, 

454. 
Phillips, Wendell, 52, 211, 225- 

227, 236. 
Piatt, John James, 463. 
Pierpont, John, 143. 
Pike, Albert, 306, 346. 
Pinkney, Edward Coate, 306. 
" Plymouth Plantation, History 

of" (Bradford), 27. 
Poe, Edgar Allan, 95, 111, 197, 

267, 310-322, 333, 437. 
Pope, Alexander, Influence of, 

89, 94, 96. 
Prescott, William Hickling, 349, 

358-364, 
Preston, Margaret Junkin, 347. 
Prince, Thomas, 27, 33. 
Puritanism and Art, 46, 48. 
Puritans, The, 23, 24-26, 46. 

Quincy, Josiah, 63, 64. 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, 16. 
Ramsay, David, 350. 
Randall, James R., 346. 
"Raven, The," 318. 
Read, Thomas Buchanan, 409. 



508 



INDEX 



Realism, 437, 440, 442, 447, 449, 
457. 

Richardson's " American Litera- 
ture," quoted, 95, 101, 153,165, 
393, 422. 

Riley, James Whitcomb, 463. 

Ripley, George, 161. 

Rives, Amelie (Princess Trou- 
betskoy), 347. 

Robinson, Roland, 482. 

Rousseau, Influence of, 81. 

Rowlandson, Mary, 32. 

Rowson, Susanna, 99. 

Russell, Irwin, 346. 

Ryan, Abram Joseph (" Father 
Ryan"), 346. 

Sandys, George, 22. 

Sargent, Epes, 144. 

Satire, Political, 89, 95, 96, 124. 

Saxe, John Godfrey, 410. 

"Scarlet Letter, The," 194, 198, 
200. 

Schouler, James, 377. 

Schurz, Carl, quoted, 222, 229. 

Scollard, Clinton, 410. 

Scott, Sir Walter, 95, 110, 113, 
115, 148. 

Scudder, Horace E., 255. 

Sedgwick, Catharine Maria, 100, 
126. 

Seton-Thompson, Ernest, 483. 

Sewall, Samuel, 30, 257. 

Shakspere, 15, 22, 69, 115. 

Shelley, and Brown's Novels, 
102. 

Shepard, Thomas, 34. 

Sherman, Frank Demster, 410. 

Shillaber, Benjamin Penhallow 
(" Mrs. Partington "), 468. 

Shorter, Clement K., on the in- 
fluence of American litera- 
ture, 10. 

Sigourney, Lydia Huntley, 143. 

Sill, Edward Roland, 206. 



Simms William Gilmore, 126, 

306, 308-310, 323. 
" Simple Cobbler of Agawam," 

32. 
" Sketch Book," 115. 
Smith, Captain John, 19-22. 
Smith, Goldwin, 221. 
Smith, Samuel Francis, 144. 
Smith, Seba, 467. 
Smith, Sydney, on Franklin, 78. 
" Snow-bound," 239. 
Sparks, Jared, 163, 254, 351-353. 
Spofford, Harriet Prescott, 455. 
Sprague, Charles, 144. 
Stansbury, Joseph, 89. 
" Star-spangled Banner," 88. 
Stedman, Edmund Clarence ,^384, 

404-408, 410, 411; quoted, 95, 

180, 282, 300, 319, 338, 426, 429, 

431. 
Stephen, Leslie, quoted, 202, 302. 
Stevenson, Robert Louis, quoted, 

433. 
Stith, William, 23. 
Stockton, Francis Richard, 451. 
Stoddard, Elizabeth Barstow, 

394. 
Stoddard, Richard Henry, 245, 

383, 394-398, 411. 
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 247-251. 
Strachey, William, 22. 
Street, Alfred Billings, 143. 
Stuart, Gilbert, 98. 
Stuart, Moses, 168. 
Sumner, Charles, 211, 227-228. 
Swinburne, 337. 

" Tales of a Wayside Inn," 266. 
Taylor, Bayard, 334, 384-394, 411 ; 

quoted, 141, 201, 243, 286, 430. 
Teuney, Tabitha, 99. 
Tennyson, 318. 
" Tenth Muse, The," 51. 
Terhune, Mrs. M. V. ("Marion 

Harland"),347. 



INDEX 



509 



Thackeray, 119, 147. 

" Thauatopsis," 128, 134. 

Thaxter, Celia, 454. 

Thomas, Edith Matilda, 463. 

Thompson, Maurice, 304, 346, 457. 

Thoreau, Henry David, 185-190, 

480. 
Thorpe, Thomas Bangs, 126. 
Ticknor, Frank O., 346. 
Ticknor, George, 254, 259, 379. 
Tiernan, Frances C. (" Christian 

Reid"),347. 
Timrod, Henry, 323-325. 
Torrey, Bradford, 481. 
Transcendental movement, 160, 

166. 
Trowbridge, John Townsend, 456. 
Trumbull, John, 89. 
Tuckerraan, Henry Theodore, 

143. 
" Twain, Mark," 469. 
" Twice-told Tales," 192, 199. 
Tyler, Moses Coit, quoted, 22, 27, 

32, 55, 60, 78, 93. 
Tyler, Royal, 98. 

" Uncle Tom's Cabin," 247, 249. 
" Under the Willows," 281. 
Unitarianism, 160, 163, 167. 

Van Dyke, Henry, 483. 

Verplanck, Gulian Crommelin, 
143. 

Vers de Societe, 410. 

Very, Jones, 205. 

"Virginia, General History of" 
(Smith), 22. 

"Virginia, Good News from" 
( Whitaker) , 22. 

"Virginia, History of" (Bev- 
erly), 23. 

"Virginia, History of" (Stith), 
23. 

" Virginia, The Present State of " 
(Blair), 22. 



Virginia, University of, 80. 
" Voices of Freedom," 238. 
" Voices of the Night," 261. 
Voltaire, Influence of, 67. 

" Walden," 186. 

Wallace, Lew, 457. 

Ward, Nathaniel, 32. 

Warner, Charles Dudley, 118, 

122, 421-423. 
Warren, Joseph, 63, 64. 
Washington, George, 67, 83, 84, 

85, 111. 
Webster, Daniel, 209, 210, 211, 

212-223, 277 ; quoted, 61, 64, 86. 
Webster, Noah, 103, 
Wendell, Barrett, 40, 244, 256. 
West, Benjamin, 98. 
West, The, growth of, 107; in 

literature, 458. 
Wheatley, Phillis, 96. 
Whipple, Edwin P., 425; quoted, 

43, 85, 100, 167, 369, 421. 
Whitaker, Alexander, 22. 
White, Richard Grant, 425. 
White's "Selborne," 189. 
Whitman, Walt, 426-434. 
Whitney, William Dwight, 425. 
Whittier, John Greenleaf, 40, 

104, 216, 232-247, 268, 271. 
Wiggin, Kate Douglas, 250. 
Wigglesworth, Michael, 53-55. 
Wilde, Richard Henry, 305, 306. 
Wilkins, Mary Eleanor, 250, 

455. 
Williams, Roger, 35. 
Willis, Nathaniel Parker, 155- 

159, 385. 
Wilson, Alexander, 96. 
Winslow, Edward, 32, 
Winsor, Justin, 378. 
Winter, William, 410, 
Winthrop, John, 29, 349, 
Winthrop, Robert C.,211, 225. 
Winthrop, Theodore, 456. 



510 



INDEX 



Wirt, William, 379. 
Witchcraft, 31, 39. 
" Wolfert's Roost," 116. 
Wollstonecraft, Mary, 102. 
Woman, in literature, 453. 
Wood, William, 32. 
Woodberry, George E., 

quoted, 239, 313, 321. 
Woods, Leonard, 168. 



425; 



Wood worth, Samuel, 142. 

Woolman, John, 104. 

Woolson, Constance Fenimore, 
464. 

Wordsworth, 98, 110, 128, 141, 
474. 

"Worthies of England" (Full- 
er), 39. 

Wright, Mabel Osgood, 482. 



LbD'19 



%